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On a night when a Bunker Hill offensive weapon reached a milestone mark, the Bears defense mauled their opponents in the gameâ€™s waning moments to preserve a 34-26 victory over Fred T. Foard.
â€śI am real proud of the way the defense stepped up there in the fourth quarter,â€ť said Bunker Hill coach Travis Conner. â€śWe got some big stops.â€ť
Clinging to a 28-26 lead in the fourth quarter, the Bears first turned away a Tiger attack that began with less than five minutes left in the game. On a critical third-down-and-long play, Bear defenders Delone Goss, Jonathan Griffith and Lashaun Redman teamed up to sack Foard quarterback Erik Ware for a big loss.
With the Tigers going for it on fourth-and-23, the Bear defense stepped up again â€” this time when Redman, Lee Wheeler and Justin Lynch sacked the Tiger quarterback.
Taking over on downs, Bunker Hill wasted no time creating scoreboard separation. A 33-yard touchdown scamper by Bunker Hillâ€™s Justin Lynch widened the margin. Foard blocked the PAT kick, however, and the Tigers still had a chance, down 34-26.
With 1:30 left in the game, the Tigers started to march. Tre Robinson rushed for a first down, then Ware connected with Tevan Ikard to get the Tigers into Bunker Hill territory.Â They drove no further.
Bunker Hillâ€™s Ryan Huffman broke up a pass, Redman logged another sack on Ware and the Bears sunk their claws into a fourth-straight victory. For the second year, Bunker Hill opens its season 4-0.
â€śIt is not a great win, but it is a good win,â€ť Conner told his team after the game. â€śI hope this woke us up a little bit. We have not arrived. We have got a lot of hard work to do.â€ť
The Tigers have not arrived yet either, but they are making progress, Foard coach Jason Phelps said.
â€śWe played our butts off,â€ť he said. â€śI couldnâ€™t be more proud of our kids. We just came up short. We are getting better, and that is all I can ask for.â€ť
The Bunker Hill win also included a milestone moment for Bear senior running back Reggie Davis. With 131 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries, Davis broke the 3,000-yard mark for his career. He is now unofficially 614 yards away from the Bunker Hill rushing record held by Darnell Lyerly.
â€śAny time you have a kid that gets that many yards in a career, that is pretty special,â€ť Conner said. â€śHe got over 3,000 (3,083 unofficially), and then Justin Lynch came in there and gave us a big boost in the fourth quarter. He sprung one open, and Reggie was his lead blocker up in there.â€ť
Davis got the Bears going with a strong start, returning the opening kick-off 60 yards. Four plays and 20 yards later, Huffman rushed 11 yards to help give Bunker Hill a 7-0 lead.
Foard responded immediately on the heels of Ware and running back Robinson. The Tigers put together a nine-play, 55-yard drive and Robinsonâ€™s six-yard touchdown, followed by Zach Schellenbergerâ€™s PAT, evened the score, 7-7.Â
For the night Robinson rushed for three touchdowns and 199 yards on 19 carries.
â€śFoard played very well tonight,â€ť Conner said. â€śThat (Robinson) is a real player. He will do well for them all year long.â€ť
The score-and-answer refrain continued throughout the game.
After the tie, Bunker Hill took another lead when the Bearsâ€™ Oliver Reitzel handed the ball to Stefan Gettys, who passed it deep to a streaking Huffman. The 59-yard scoring strike gave Bunker Hill a 13-7 lead after an unsuccessful PAT.
Again, Foard answered â€”Â and fast. Two plays into their ensuing drive, Robinson rushed 76 yards to score. Schellenbergerâ€™s kick put Foard ahead 14-13.
Both teams scored again before the half. For Bunker Hill, the points came on a one-yard touchdown run by Davis to cap a 14-play, 69-yard drive.
Foard answered shortly thereafter, but it wasnâ€™t as easy this time. The Tigers converted twice on fourth down, including a fourth-down touchdown pass from Ware to Ikard for a 21-yard scoring play.Â
Bunker Hill began a drive before halftime, but Foardâ€™s Rey Calderon intercepted a pass to maintain the Tigersâ€™ 21-20 deficit going into intermission.
The second half was much like the first â€” Bunker Hill scored, and Foard answered almost every time. First, Davis crossed the goal-line on a 42-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion put the Bears ahead, 28-20.
The score didnâ€™t hold long. Foardâ€™s Robinson scored on a 13-yard run to bring the Tigers within two points, 28-26, but a two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the Tigers couldnâ€™t tie the game.
Lynchâ€™s late score andÂ the Bears defensive stops sealed the win for Bunker Hill. Lynch finished the night rushing eight times for 50 yards and his fourth-quarter touchdown.
Bunker Hill looks ahead to next weekâ€™s match-up at East Burke.
â€śWe went into halftime last year against East Burke, 7-7,â€ť Conner said, â€śThen, we came back and scored 40 unanswered in the second half. We canâ€™t put ourselves in that situation next week at their place. We have to be ready from the get-go. We have got a lot of work to do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be ready to go up there.â€ť
Foard opens its conference schedule next week, traveling to Watauga.View more articles in: