The Bradwell Tigers fell to 1-2 in Region 3-AAAAA and the Knights improved to 2-1 Friday after holding on to a two-point lead to beat the Tigers 27-25 in Savannah at Saunders field.
With significant injuries forcing four members of the Tigers’ starting front line to sit out, Knights quarterback Donovan Campbell and running back Chris Gadson-Butler drove the ball up the middle and across the sweep, forcing the Tigers to play catch-up in the second half.
The Tigers ended the first quarter with a one point lead, 7-6. To open the second quarter, Bradwell mounted a short drive, but were forced to punt. Tiger kicker David Miller was hit as the ball was kicked away, drawing a roughing-the-kicker penalty and earning the offense a new set of downs.
With the new opportunity, Tiger quarterback Wilson Brown rushed for a first down. Brown handed the ball to running back Sheldon Barnes for a few short carries before Brown once again rushed for 10 yards and another first down.
The Tigers had a first and goal at the 6-yard line and two plays later Barnes barreled through the middle. Miller’s PAT was blocked, but the Tigers were up 13-6.
The Tigers kicked the ball to the Knights, who fielded the catch and started their own drive from their 35-yard line. A series of runs by Gadson-Butler led to a Knights’ touchdown and PAT to tie the game.
On the ensuing kick, the Knights kicked it short and a Tiger defender touched it. A Knight snagged the ball, allowing his offense back on the field with 1:49 left before the half.
With the ball at mid-field, Campbell completed a pass and handed the ball to Gadson-Butler three times to get inside the red zone. Campbell carried the ball to help the Knights close the half up 20-13.
The Tigers’ offense had 35 seconds to mount a drive, but the Knights made an adjustment and shut down Barnes and Brown’s running game.
The Tigers entered the locker room a little stunned.
In the second half, the Tigers were able to move the ball and add another 12 points, but the Knights also added another touchdown to win.
Tiger coach Jim Walsh said his team is young and players are bound to make mental mistakes. However, the loss to Windsor Forest was not due to mental mistakes as much as physical ones. With team center Ulrick John still out, Tony Wright out with an injury, Alex Hamilton going down Friday night and three others forced to sit on the sidelines, the Tigers will need to heal quickly as they fight for a playoff spot from here on.
They can’t afford to take the winless Blue Jackets of Savannah or the 2-5 Beach Bulldogs for granted the next two weeks. After that, they’ll face Johnson, 4-2, 2-1, and then Camden at the end of the regular season.