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McBEE – On paper, the Buford High School Yellow Jackets’ 49-8 road win over the McBee High School Panthers appears to be one sided.
But this victory didn’t happen on Friday, Buford High football coach Mike Wells said. It happened on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
After fumbling away a win against Indian Land the previous week, the Jackets got back to the football basics at practice. If anything was one-sided, it was the weekday afternoon practice sessions beside the BHS gymnasium.
“I don’t know if we did anything much different tonight than the week before,” Wells said. “We looked at McBee’s defense to see where they were going to be lined up, but that wasn’t really our focus.
“We focused on what we had done wrong in that first game and worked this week to fix it,” Wells said.
That inward focus reaped benefits as all five first-half Jackets’ drives hung touchdowns on the scoreboard.
On Buford’s third play of the night, fullback Scott Catledge burst through the middle, cut to the left and ran 74 yards into the end zone untouched. Tyler Jenkins nailed his first of seven extra points of the night to give the Jackets a 7-0 lead at the 10:46 mark.
After forcing a Panthers’ punt, it was wingback Jay Chambers who stepped up with a 51-yard touchdown run.
Timmy Blackmon scored two touchdowns – one on a 56-yard run and the other on a 24-yard reverse as the Jackets built a 28-0 lead.
“From the start, we just had one of those games where everything was going right for us,” said BHS offensive line coach Wes James. “We’ve had plenty where we were the ones who were just the opposite. You stand there and keep saying to yourself, ‘OK, when is something bad going to happen?’ ”
It briefly did midway through the second quarter when Jackets’ two-way starter C.J. Blackmon bobbled a knuckling punt that McBee recovered at its own 36-yard line.
The Panthers offense finally came to life after a long completion from quarterback J.C. Steen to tight end Lewis Hart. McBee worked the ball to the Jackets’ 35-yard-line, but back-to-back sacks by Buford senior defensive end Donnie Duncan had the Panthers turning the ball over on downs.
The Jackets scored once more before the end of the half when C.J. Blackmon capped a seven-play drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Mikeem McKinney.
McBee took the second-half kickoff down to the BHS four-yard line, but the Jackets dug in on defense and got the ball back.
After punting the ball away, the Panthers were moving the ball with ease, however, they got nothing to show for it. Facing second down at the BHS 29-yard line, a Panthers turnover netted the play of the night.
Defensive end Marcus Brown alertly snatched up the ball, hit high gear and motored down the Buford sidelines for a 71-yard touchdown. Jenkins’ extra point gave the Jackets a 42-0 lead at the 3:56 mark of the third quarter.
McBee once again moved the ball well, but another promising drive ended when Dylan Altman intercepted a Steen pass and returned it to the Panthers’ 24-yard line. Altman capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with 8:06 left. Jenkins’ PAT gave the Jackets a 49-0 lead.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Wells said. “All the kids were playing hard and I think everybody who was on the bus played.”
However they didn’t get to play as long as they wanted to. With about six minutes left and a thunderstorm threatening to halt play, officials called Wells and McBee head coach Charlie Poole to the field for a quick conference. With the game decided, both coaches agreed to go to a running clock. McBee finally scored on a short run by John Hayes. Cameron Garner converted the 2-point conversion to make the score 49-8.
Officials suspended play with about three minutes left when the skies opened producing heavy lightning, high winds and heavy rainfall.
After a quick handshake, the Panthers headed for their locker room and the Jackets headed for their buses, barely outrunning the severe storm.
Wells was clearly happy to see his team back on the winning track. Now 1-1, Buford heads back across town for another county rivalry game at Lancaster next Friday.