By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports
Captain Shreve’s 42-7 undressing of Haughton Friday night wasn’t like watching a TKO as much as it was like watching the winners stretch the losers out on a primitive torture rack and gradually turn the wheel.
Death, slowly but surely.
Haughton could never get up and resurgent Shreve, high as the threatening clouds that moved in over Lee Hedges Stadium in the second half of a game that started at 5:30 to dodge weather, would never come down.
The Gators, who’ll see where they’ve landed in the playoff picture when the brackets are released Sunday morning at 10, have now won two of their last three, the loss a 22-21 setback against high-flying Benton last week. The Tigers came into the game averaging 55 points and had been held to less than 400 yards in only one contest; Shreve, 5-5 overall and 2-5 in District 1-5A after Friday’s regular-season finale, held them to three touchdowns and 250 yards.
Against Haughton, the Gators defense seemed never to be out of position, stacking the box, playing tight coverage, hardly allowing the Bucs to breathe. Haughton could manage just 217 yards, 67 passing and a bruising 150 on the ground.
The Bucs, 5-5, 3-4, will find out Sunday if their 25-years playoff streak is either extended, or ended.
“They whipped us up front, on both sides of the ball,” Haughton coach Jason Brotherton said. “I didn’t think it’d be like that. We’ve been able to hold our own up front every game other than Many (a 35-3 loss). We knew they were talented and thought before the season they could win district. We knew they were getting back to full strength (after some midseason injuries). But I still didn’t think it would be that big of a mismatch up front.”
Shreve coach Adam Kirby said it was as physical as his team has played all year—and just in the nick of time.
“I told our team the challenge tonight would be, ‘Can we be the more physical team?’” the rookie head coach said. “I wanted to make sure we set the tempo early and got it going. To the kids’ credit, they took it personal. They wanted to send a statement heading into the playoffs; that’s just what they did.”
The Gators won the toss and elected to receive, a wise call since sophomore running back Jamarlon Otis ran off right tackle and was never touched on his way down the west sideline and into the south end zone for a 76-yard touchdown. The kick from senior John Chance was good; he was a perfect 5-for-5 on PAT’s, and sophomore Zane Wyss nailed the final one when Shreve scored its sixth touchdown with substitutes and 1:07 left to play.
In between, the two teams played a first half that settled little. What probably determined the game was what happened between 3:02 left in the second quarter and 4:02 left in the third.
Following a Haughton punt and one of Shreve’s 11 penalties (for 110 yards), the Gators rallied for a first down from an unfavorable first-and-26 from its own 16. Shreve got a rush from Jayden Edwards for four yards, a scramble from quarterback Kenyon Terrell for 13, then Terrell hit Edwards in the flat for a first-and-10 near midfield.
Next came the killer, a Terrell pass to Keaton Flowers on a crossing route for 49 yards to the Haughton 4. On first-and-goal, Terrell found Flowers all alone for the score and a 14-0 lead.
With 1:28 left in the half, Haughton drove from its own 20 to a fourth-and-9 at the Gator 29 but couldn’t convert. 14-0 Shreve at the half.
Haughton started the second half with the ball at midfield after a pooch kick and Shreve penalty, but the Gators forced a three-and-out and the offense put together an 80-yard, 14-play drive that ended with junior wideout Jordan Wiggins rushing from 16 yards out and spinning into the end zone for a 21-0 lead that seemed to break the Bucs with 4:02 left in the third.
That final Haughton first-half drive that ended on a fourth-down stop by Shreve was one of three fourth-down chances the Bucs couldn’t make good on; one was a fourth-and-one that turned into a fourth-and-six and punt attempt after a procedure penalty. A bad snap then gave Shreve a first down on the Buc 21 and led to the fifth TD of the night, a Terrell keeper from 8 yards out, to make it 35-0 early in the final quarter.
Too many little things added up to too many big things for the Bucs to overcome on a night that belonged to the Gators.
“We were in the game in the first half,” Brotherton said. “We had some misreads and we dropped a crossing route we maybe score on to make it 7-7. We had our chances. If we get any of those plays early, the whole game might be different.”
Instead, the Gators racked up 463 yards — 98 passing, 365 rushing — then crowd-surfed their first-year head coach above the home field turf only a few minutes after the final horn.
“Meant the world to me,” Kirby said. “Been a long year for all of us. But these kids, they’re still fighting.”
Contact Teddy at email@example.com
Captain Shreve 42, Haughton 7
Score by quarters
Haughton | 0 | 0 | 0 | 7 | – 7
Shreve | 7 | 7 | 14 | 14 | – 42
CS – Jamarlon Otis 76 run (John Chance kick)
CS – Keaton Flowers 4 pass from Kenyon Terrell (Chance kick)
CS – Jordan Wiggins 16 run (Chance kick)
CS – Jayden Edwards 21 run (Chance kick)
CS – Terrell 8 run (Chance kick)
H – Rashard Douglas 17 pass from Colin Rains (Carter Ebarb kick)
CS – Javen Thomas 2 run (Zane Wyss kick)
Haughton – Tyler Rhodes 18-66, Colin Rains 8-25, Davontay Moss 4-23, Jamarion Montgomery 1-22, John Ecot 3-7, Rashard Douglas 1-5, Marlon Montgomery 1-2.
Captain Shreve – Otis 10-115, Edwards 15-96, Terrell 9-80, Thomas 2-34, Wiggins 1-16, Scotty Simo 3-14, Brodie Savage 1-8, Flowers 1-2.
Haughton – Rains 7-19-0-67.
Captain Shreve – Terrell 7-8-0-98.
Haughton – Jalen Lewis 2-24, Douglas 1-17, Jam. Montgomery 2-15, Ecot 2-11.
Captain Shreve – Flowers 4-68, Edwards 1-14, cam Wilson 1-9, JT Hester 1-6.