An opportunistic defense and unrelenting rushing attack led Boyd-Buchanan to its first win of the football season Friday night, 23-6 over Grace Academy.
The Buccaneers (1-5) forced four turnovers, each resulting in a score, and ran for 289 of their 329 total yards while holding the Golden Eagles (3-2) to 225 total yards of offense.
Bucs quarterback Eli Evans accounted for 126 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and completed six of his eight passes for 40 yards. Running backs Regan Pettway and Will Watkins contributed 11 carries for 77 yards and 30 yards on seven attempts and a touchdown, respectively.
"We used a lot of guys. We held onto some stuff until the second half," coach Carter Cardwell said. "We were fortunate enough to do that, and then we used some of that stuff in the second half. It was good for us."
After forcing quarterback Cade Tinsley into his first of two lost fumbles, Boyd-Buchanan moved downfield on a nine-play, 55-yard drive capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Watkins to make the score 7-0 with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.
Late in the first half Cardwell chose to take a timeout with Grace holding the ball on second-and-3 on its own 13-yard line. He was rewarded by his defense taking away another Tinsley fumble on the very next play after a 21-yard scamper by the junior quarterback.
From there, Boyd-Buchanan drove to the Grace 2-yard line with only a few ticks left on the first-half clock. Eli Terrell ended the first half of play by kicking a 19-yard field goal for a 10-0 advantage.
Boyd-Buchanan's third takeaway came early in the third quarter when running back Ross Adams fumbled the ball away, setting up the Bucs at the Grace 30. Two plays later, Evans ran the ball in from 27 yards out to make the score 17-0 with 8:53 remaining in the third.
Despite the turnovers, Tinsley would not give in yet. On the following possession, he orchestrated a 10-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a Jimmy Green 1-yard touchdown run and a 17-6 margin.
With just under a minute remaining in the game, Evans fumbled the ball away for the Bucs' only turnover of the game. However, he intercepted a Tinsley pass and returned it 35 yards for his second touchdown of the game as time expired, to make the final score 23-6.
Tinsley ran 21 times for 141 yards and was 4-of-9 passing for 60 yards. He accounted for 221 of the Golden Eagles' 225 total offensive yards.
Penalties were an issue for Boyd-Buchanan all night as it finished with 11 for 69 yards, but Cardwell was pleased with the result as the Bucs head into their homecoming game next week against Chattanooga Christian.
"I think leading up to this game we had made mistakes, and we just couldn't fight back from them. Tonight we still made some mistakes, but we figured out a way to overcome those," he said. "I've always told people that penalties and turnovers go on coaching, so we've got to do a better job coaching those situations and coaching where those things don't happen."
Cardwell finished the night by saying, "Like I told them: Exhale and smile. It's good."
Contact Thomas Black at firstname.lastname@example.org