The final score last Friday seemed about as typical as any high school football game: Bainbridge-Guilford 32, Hancock 16. Between the lines, the Bobcats had one heck of a fight from a team that has lost every game this season.
Armed with a strong passing game and the ability to put points on the board, lightning struck for the Wildcats. Dylan Oralls threw a TD pass on the final play of the first half, and the two-point conversion tied the game at 16-16.
On its second possession of the third quarter – and with momentum on its side – Hancock marched toward a seemingly imminent go-ahead touchdown sidling up to a first-and-goal at the five-yard line. Giving up yardage in small increments, the Bobcats’ defense stuffed a fourth-and-a-foot to survive the threat.
Getting the ball back, B-G drove 99 1/2 yards to take the lead for good. Quarterback Justin Pepper took a bootleg down the sidelines, and added the two-point run moving the visitors in front, 24-16. “That defensive stand, we were a foot away from our season imploding,” said third-year B-G coach Tim Mattingly. “I’m not sure how we would have responded if they had scored.”
Mattingly gave due credit to a hard-luck Wildcats team that has lost its first two games by one point, and has contended in all but one contest. “When we faced them in the scrimmage at Greene in August, we thought they were one of the best teams there,” Mattingly said. “We didn’t bring our ‘A game,’ and maybe took them a little lightly. To their credit, they battled us hard.”
Delhi (1-0, 3-2) at B-G (2-0, 4-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Bobcats, who have already clinched a Class D playoff spot, can wrap up their first division title in the D ranks at home against a versatile Delhi attack. The Bulldogs have beaten B-G in each of Mattingly’s first two seasons at the helm, and quarterback Luke Burns is back running the offense. “We just want to take care of business, and we think this will be a heck of a matchup,” Mattingly said. “They’re pretty big and physical up front. We expect them to come right at us.”