Lynch’s 257 yards, 5 TDs lift Bears past Tigers

Already with 532 rushing yards on the season, Justin Lynch isn’t satisfied with what he has accomplished on the football field yet.

The senior running back tallied 257 rushing yards and all five of his team’s touchdowns against Fred T. Foard on Friday in Newton.

Lynch’s performance helped the Bears improve to 4-0 with a 35-7 road win against the Tigers.

“It feels great,” Lynch said of his performance. “I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of everybody. I want to keep going. I want even more.”

Bunker Hill coach Travis Conner said Lynch is a unique talent.

“Number 22 is special,” he said. “He is a physical specimen that runs very aggressively. He has command of his body. That makes all the difference in the world.”

The Tigers (2-2) started out the game with a strong drive that ate up nearly nine minutes on the clock, and allowed them to march into Bunker Hill territory.

The drive eventually stalled with Lynch and the Bears capitalizing, going 79 yards in nine plays.

Lynch ran on eight of those plays for 66 yards, including a two-yard score that put his team up 6-0 after a missed extra point.

After trading possessions a couple of times, Foard tried to start another strong drive in the early stages of the second quarter. A 35-yard pass from Foard quarterback Jacob Schmidt to wingback Jalen Thompson once again put the Tigers back in Bears territory.

However, a fumble by Foard's Dalton Snook sent momentum back in favor of the road team.

Lynch carried the Bears on his back again on the ensuing drive, running four times for 33 yards and punching in his team's second score.

After getting the ball back on a 35-yard punt by Schmidt, the Bears capped the first half with a four-play, 85-yard drive that included a 63-yard scampering score by Lynch.

Bunker Hill led 21-0 at the break — the first time it has led a game at the half all season long.

"We had a really good first half," Conner said. "We had some stupid penalities in the first half that cost us being up a whole lot more than we actually were. Overall, I was really please with the kid's effort and the way they came out at the beginning of the game like we've not done in the first three games."

Lynch added his fourth score on the Bears' first possession of the second half, running 27 yards to the endzone on the drive's first play.

Foard coach Jason Phelps said he was impressed by watching Lynch's performance against his squad.

"We knew coming into the game that the Lynch kid for Bunker Hill is hard to tackle and a good athlete," he said. "I was more impressed tonight with him. No one guy beat us. We beat ourselves. (Bunker Hill) came out and outplayed us."

After trading interceptions, the Tigers finally got on the scoreboard with 5:30 left in the third quarter on a Snook 26-yard run for a touchdown.

Trailing late, Foard's defense, which was without six starters due to injury, could not stop Lynch from running for his fifth score of the contest on a 41-yard burst with 6:15 left in the fourth.

Lynch's 257 yards were six shy of his season-high, which came in the Aug. 17 opener against Cherryville.

Lynch said he is driven each game to get as many yards as he can.

"Every game I want to beat (263 yards)," he said. "I just stay focused. I motivate myself. I think about my little girl every game. I really just want to get into college. I play my butt off every game so that hopefully I can reach my goals."

Phelps said despite being without seven total injured players due to injury, his team can't use that as an excuse for its performance.

"We got outplayed from the get-go," he said. "It's just like I told the kids. (Bunker Hill) came ready to play football. We did not. We started playing better in the second half, and we were more excited in the second half, but it was too late."

The Tigers had one final shot with six seconds left in the game to add a touchdown, but a pass into the endzone by Jackson Bass fell incomplete.

Both teams open conference play next Friday.

Bunker Hill hosts East Burke (2-2) for homecoming, while Fred T. Foard (2-2) tries to bounce back when it welcomes Watauga (3-1).