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Bengals edge Bruins in double overtime

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By Robert Howey

BLYTHEWOOD – As if football frustration couldn’t get any higher for the snake-bit Lancaster Bruins, it did Friday night.

A week after falling to Ridge View, 9-6 when a game-ending end zone pass for the win fell off the hands of the intended LHS receiver, the Bruins endured another tough night in a 24-21 double overtime loss to host Blythewood on the same field where LHS dropped the tough three-point loss to RVHS.

This game, like the week prior, came down to the game’s final snap – a Brandon Reese game-tying 46-yard field goal which fell well short of the mark in the three-point defeat to BHS.

By contrast, Blythewood, 3-3, converted on its field goal try as sophomore kicker Greg Huegel drilled a 40-yard field goal after Lancaster had rallied behind its defense to force the Bengals to go for the three-pointer.

Lancaster then went on offense, starting at the 10 as high school football overtime states.

Unfortunately, the Bruins, plagued by penalties and sacks, went backward after three downs and then summoned Reese to possibly send the game into a third OT, but his kick fell short and the Bengals had a victory to celebrate their 2011 homecoming.

“It really was a tough night,” LHS coach Bennie McMurray said. “At times so close only to fall short. Our effort was tremendous, but we didn’t complete the job.”

Regulation ended in a 21-all draw, with LHS going on offense first.

The Bruins worked it to a fourth-and-short at the Blythewood one and LHS senior quarterback Shaq Williams, on his fourth straight carry, took the snap and pushed for the end zone.

“I thought he got in,” LHS coach Bennie McMurray said. “They said he was in the end zone.”

Game officials, after some deliberation, ruled Williams was stopped inches short, giving Blythewood a shot.

The Bengals fumbled on their first snap and LHS senior linebacker A.J. Williams made the recovery.

Blythewood, to open the second OT, went on offense first and was pushed back to the LHS 23 after three downs. The Bengals summoned Huegel, who drilled the 40-yard for a 24-21 lead.

Lancaster’s final possession ended at the 29 after two plays for minus nine yards back to the 19 and a pair of five-yard penalties to the 29. Reese was summoned, but couldn’t deliver on the field-goal attempt.

“Our defense got it done,” BHS coach Reggie Kennedy said. “Our defensive line kept the pressure on and we were able to contain Williams at quarterback.”

The Bengals broke on top as they drove 71 yards, with Damar Hall capping the drive on a 15-yard TD catch.

Lancaster answered in the second period as Quinshun “Bubba” Evans returned a A.J. Williams’ blocked punt three yards to tied the game after Reece converted.

Late in the third period, Hall, who had four catches for 86 yards, hauled in a 60-yard TD pass to put Blythewood back on top, 14-7 with Huegel’s kick. The Bengals’ second TD capped a 91-yard drive.

Back came the Bruins, with an 80-yard scoring march highlighted by Shaq Williams’ 39-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Michael Cooper. Reese’s kick tied the game at 14-all.

The LHS defense then delivered, with senior defensive back Shaq Elder picking off a Gray pass and dashing in for six on a 12-yard scoring return. Reese’s extra point put LHS up, 21-14 with six minutes left.

The Bengals, as they did in key situations, rallied with a 72-yard drive, with Gray going in from four-yards out for the touchdown and Huegel adding the kick. Three plays prior, with the game in the balance on a fourth-and-six snap, Gray scrambled for a first-and-goal at the LHS nine.

In the same series, a Gray screen pass to James Langston appeared to be a fumble recovered by the Bruins, but officials ruled it an incompletion and the Bengals were still alive. The Bengals took advantage and scored to tie the game and forced the extra sessions to notch the win.

“As tough as this is, we have to move on and prepare for region play,” McMurray said. “We had a great week of practice after a tough loss last week and we will need the same this week. It’s a challenge, but we must respond. If we keep playing hard and working hard, something good is going to happen for us.”

LHS, after a three-week road trip, hosts Rock Hill to open Region III-AAAA play. The Bearcats edged Ridge View, 8-7 on Thursday night.

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Contact sports editor Robert Howey at 283-1157