Jackets last Lions, 34-22

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Heath Joplin

 RICHBURG – The Buford Yellow Jackets rebounded with resound Friday night, Sept. 20.

The Jackets, looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 52-0 defeat at Charlotte Country Day, traveled to Lewisville, where the Lions entered the game a perfect 3-0 at home this season.

Buford spoiled the Lions’ home streak, taking a 34-22 comeback win over Class A’s 10th-ranked team.

After both teams went quietly on their first possessions, the Lions began their second drive at their 38.

On the drive, the swarming Jackets’ defense set the tone for what would be an aggressive, hard-hitting game.

With the Lions facing a third and 11, the Jackets’ Kyle Norcia and Alex Dixon sacked Lions quarterback Cody Montgomery deep in their own territory.

Jacoby Funderburk then returned the Lewisville punt 40 yards to the Lions 22.

The Jackets took advantage of the field position as LaDarius Parker scored his first touchdown of the season from 16 yards out. Wade Lambert’s extra point gave BHS an early 7-0 lead.

The Lions responded.

Lewisville, starting at its 40, needed only six plays to score.

Montgomery hit Dre Bailey on a wide receiver screen down the left sideline for 26 yards.

Osveldo Sarduy added the point-after to tie the game at 7-all.

After the Lewisville kickoff inadvertently sailed out of bounds, BHS once again began its drive deep in Lions’ territory. The Jackets took possession at the 39, and once again, it resulted in six.

Jesse Stacks also scored his first touchdown of the season, tallying from 10 yards out.

Lambert tacked on the point-after and Buford opened the second quarter with a 14-7 lead.

The Lions roared back quickly.

From the Lions 29, they marched 71 yards, capped by Bailey’s four-yard TD dash. Tony Gaston  converted the two-point run and the Lions led for the first time, 15-14.

The Lions’ kickoff was returned 21 yards by BHS senior Dee williams to give BHS a first and 10 at the  Lions’ 49.

Buford’s third series of downs, which began in Lions’ territory, was true to form.

BHS, as it had done before, took advantage of the prime field position.

After key rushes of 15 yards by Stacks and 20 yards by Funderburk, the Jackets faced third and goal at the six.

Buford’s Scotti Moser connected with Norcia for the touchdown and the lead. The extra point gave Buford a 21-15 lead at the half.

“I was very pleased with the way we responded after last week,” BHS coach Mike Wells said. “The guys came out focused and ready to play. Our defense and special teams put us in really good field position in the first half and we were able to capitalize.”

The Jackets extended their lead in the third quarter.

Nic Chavis rushed for the score from 15 yards out and Lambert’s kick put the Jackets ahead, 28-15.

The BHS lead held as the fourth quarter got underway.

BHS, from the Lions’ 44, went to the air as Moser hooked up Garrett Crenshaw across the middle.

Crenshaw, reaching the Lions’ one and fighting for the score, had the ball stripped and recovered by the Lions on the one.

The Lions then drove 99 yards and cashed in on Bailey’s second score of the game, this one from two yards out.

The extra point cut the Jackets’ lead to 28-22 with 3:44 to play.

After holding Buford and forcing a turnover on downs, the Lions took over at their 24 with 2:02 to play.

Montgomery, harassed throughout the game, rolled to his left looking for an open receiver. BHS senior linebacker Troy Cunningham read the play to perfection and picked off the Montgomery pass and raced 40 yards for the touchdown.

The Jackets’ two-point conversion failed, but the Jackets led and held on for the 34-22 win.

“I can’t say enough about our defense tonight,” Wells said. “We were very aggressive and flying to the ball. As a unit defensively, we did a lot of good things. I have to thank my assistants for doing such a good job with the boys in my absence this week.”

Wells was referring to the birth of his granddaughter, Kobe Clair Sutter.

The swarming Jackets’ defense held Lewisville to 63 yards rushing on 32 attempts, an average of 1.9 yards a rush.

Buford returns home Friday, Sept. 27 to face Great Falls. The 2-2 Red Devils dropped a 29-26 home loss to Andrew Jackson on Friday, Sept. 27.