Bartlett Yancey overcame an early deficit against Graham Friday evening to down the visiting Red Devils 44-22 in the conference opener for both teams.
Bucs quarterback Brendan Nunnally called that first conference win “a weight lifted off our shoulders,” adding: “We wanted to do it, and we did it. We're on the road to making history again.”
This time, he hopes, the Bucs (4-0, 1-0) will finish off the season with a conference title, not just a winning record.
Coach Joshua Brumfield is aiming for that, too. But he was unhappy with his team's lack of “focus” during the game. That, he felt, led to mistakes that could have been costly.
“You have a big time game coming up,” he told players afterward, referring to Friday's match up at 1A/2A East Conference 14 foe North Moore (4-0, 0-0). “They run a lot of the same stuff that they (Graham) ran, and we didn't do well with.”
The Bucs stuffed Graham (2-2, 0-1) on the opening play of the game, shutting down a run attempt up the middle. On the next play, though, Red Devils quarterback Dexter Flood found Makhi Enoch open down the left sideline for a quick 70-yard score. That put Graham up 7-0 - their only lead of the night.
The Bucs answered just over four minutes later when Davon Lipscomb, a senior, scored from the two yard line. BY went ahead 8-7 when Nunnally found Jaylen Neal in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
That Bartlett Yancey ahead to stay. The Bucs took a 20-7 lead into the half and added another 24 points after the break.
For the night, the Bucs bottled up the Red Devils run game, holding the visitors to -23 yards rushing. But Graham passing game more than compensated. Flood completed 12 of 22 passes against the Bucs defense for 295 yards and two touchdowns.
Bartlett Yancey's attack was balanced – 197 yards rushing and 193 passing. They continued to struggle with penalties, though. For the night they were flagged 13 times for 115 yards.
Brumfield chalked it up to his team's style of play.
“We're aggressive and we're going to make some penalties,” he said.
Also scoring touchdowns were Dylan Wall, Neal and Jayquan Morton, who ran one in for a score, returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score and ran an interception back 80 yards for a third score.
“It just opened up,” Morton said of the pick six. “They (teammates) laid some good blocks.”