Bunker Hill used a three-headed rushing attack to amass almost 600 years on the ground as the Bears defeated Bandys 49-20.
The victory marks the first for Bunker Hill over Bandys in nine straight games, and it solidifies the Bears’ chances of a playoff berth when pairings are announced Saturday.
“That is one of the biggest wins that has happened here at The Hill in many, many years,” said Bunker Hill head coach Travis Conner. “We are just real excited about it, and we are looking forward to the playoffs. We didn’t just make the playoffs to go to the playoffs. We made the playoffs to get in there and win some games.”
With the win, Bunker Hill improves to 7-4, 3-4 in conference play. Losses by Draughn and West Caldwell knotted all three schools in the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference standings, with 3-4 conference records. The Bears, however, have the better overall record, and sit in the fourth-place spot in the conference.
The Bears’ success on the ground helped Bunker Hill build momentum as they hope to find a seat in the championship tournament. On Friday, Bunker Hill posted 597 yards of offense — all on the ground, and two Bears posted rushing nights over 200 yards, while a third topped 160.
“All the credit goes to the offensive line,” Conner said. “They played their guts out out here and opened up a lot of big running lanes for our backs to run through.”
Junior running back Reggie Davis rushed for 219 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while his senior backfield partner Davontaye Wilson posted 161 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
“We came out with a lot of hard work and we came out with a finish — a big finish” Wilson said.
Sophomore Justin Lynch led the Bear rushing attack with 267 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Lynch had long scoring runs of 70 and 68 yards.
“I just played hard. This is our last game of the season, and I just tried my hardest, and my teammates blocked for me,” Lynch said, adding that on the long runs, he tried to follow in the footsteps of his upper classmen teammates. “I look up to Reggie (Davis) and Davontaye (Wilson), and their speed. I want to be like them. I just get out there, and look to the end zone. When I see people chasing me I just run around them.”
Lynch ran around opponents midway through the first quarter. After Bandys’ Landon Jones recovered an early Bear fumble, Trojan quarterback David Barrow connected with Kenny Hodge on 43-yard pass play that put Bandys ahead 6-0.
Four plays later Lynch broke through the line of scrimmage, ran around and outran Bandys defenders to go 68 yards into the end zone. Alonzo Lopez’s PAT put Bunker Hill ahead 7-6.
The Bears never trailed again.
Bunker Hill quarterback Joe Litton scored on a 1-yard sneak to increase the lead to 14-6 in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Lynch capped a three-play, 88-yard drive with his 70-yard scoring scamper. Wilson added a 56-yard touchdown run, and Davis scored on a 68-yard run to give Bunker Hill a 28-6 halftime lead.
“We got a lesson in smash-mouth football tonight. They played good and they have got a good football team and it is very physical,” Bandys coach Randy Lowman said, adding the Trojans “problem” all year has been getting beat by more physical teams. “We just weren’t able to stop drives, stop big plays and get the ball back, and they cashed them in when they needed to.”
Bandys scored again in the third quarter when Barrow connected with Hodge on a 67-yard touchdown pass. Barrow finished the night with 181 passing yards and two touchdowns on eight completions in 19 attempts. Hodge caught seven passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
On the ground, Devan Davis led Bandys with 53 yards on eight carries, while Tewon Smith added 24 yards on 14 carries.
Ryan Holeman added a late 1-yard touchdown run for the Trojans.
Late in the game, the Bears added a couple of more scores on 2-yard scoring runs by Will Garrett and Gequan Peoples. People’s score capped a nine-play, 90-yard drive that consumed clock and all but sealed the 49-20 victory for the Bears.
Bandys falls to 3-8, 1-6 in Catawba Valley Athletic Conference Play. The Trojans will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2001.