GARDEN CITY — A wild football game between Bradwell Institute and Savannah High on Thursday night had a little bit of everything: a fight between two players, an interception and kickoff returned for touchdowns, and two quarterbacks combining to throw for six touchdowns and more than 450 yards.
Savannah High emerged from the Region 3-AAAAA slugfest with a 42-29 victory, beating Bradwell for a second consecutive season. The Blue Jackets won, 14-10, last season.
Savannah High (1-5, 1-3) jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter before Bradwell (1-5, 1-3) clawed back to take its only lead, 21-20, with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
But Savannah High’s defense dominated in the fourth quarter. Bradwell quarterback Myrese Cobb threw three of his four interceptions during the Tigers’ first three drives of the fourth quarter. Savannah High’s Naquan Chisolm picked off Cobb’s pass in the second quarter, and Chisolm’s teammates Jarret Grier, Jovante Spivey and James Kittles intercepted Cobb in the fourth quarter. Kittles returned the fourth interception for a 50-yard touchdown and a 42-21 lead with 3:34 to play.
“It was about time. Period,” Savannah High coach David Jackson said of his secondary.
Said Bradwell coach Jim Walsh Jr., “We started the game out slow and we ended up crawling back and taking the lead. We didn’t tackle very well. Defensively, it was not a very good night for us. There’s not a whole lot you can say.”
Savannah High produced a 15-play, 80-yard drive during its first possession of the game and capped it with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Spivey to tight end Kavon Freeman. The ball deflected off a Bradwell defender’s hands and Freeman snatched it in the end zone to score.
Freeman, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound senior who is being recruited by Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Georgia Southern, finished with seven catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Savannah High made it 14-0 early in the second quarter when Spivey scrambled to his right, found Sean Scott cutting across the back of the end zone and connected with him for a 9-yard touchdown. Spivey ran for a two-point conversion.
Midway through the second quarter, Savannah High punted but Bradwell fumbled the return and the Blue Jackets recovered. Five plays later, Spivey scrambled to his right and threw to Peter Smith in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 20-0.
Spivey, a 5-foot-9, 130-pound junior, finished 14-of-23 passing for 200 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
“He’s just going to get better,” Jackson said of Spivey. “He’s a thinker on the field.”
Bradwell cut the score to 20-7 with 14 second left before halftime when Cobb threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Markell McKee. Robert Miller kicked the extra point.
Bradwell cut it to 20-13 with 5:03 left in the third quarter when Cobb capped a six-play, 60-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The Tigers were effective using screen passes during the drive.
The game turned ugly with 3:54 left in the third quarter when a Bradwell player and a Savannah High player began fighting. A Savannah High assistant coach said the Bradwell player pulled the Savannah High player’s facemask after a play. The Bradwell player threw the Savannah High player to the ground and straddled his stomach before landing several punches to his helmet and chest.
Players from both teams began to leave their respective sidelines. Bradwell’s Walsh and his assistants, and Savannah High’s Jackson and his assistants, responded quickly to keep the situation from escalating. Jackson, who is coaching from the press box this season for the first time in his career, threw off his headset, ran from the press box through the bleachers and climbed over a fence to jump into the fray. He grabbed his player by his jersey and escorted him to the Blue Jackets’ bench.
Walsh said no players from either team were ejected.
“I saw when the kid was on top of our kid, hitting him,” Walsh said. “I didn’t see anything else. We talk to our kids all the time about sportsmanship and keeping their composure. It kind of looked bad. Everybody saw it. That kid was on top of ours kind of waylaying him, and I think that kind of upset our kids.
“We got out in front of the kids and told them to go back (to the sideline). Our rule is you don’t come off the bench. You don’t cross the sideline. That’s something, again, that we’re going to address. I’m sure coach (Jackson) is going to address it with his team.
“I think both coaching staffs did a great job. Both staffs got in front of their benches when kids started trying to come off (the sideline). We turned them back. They turned theirs back. And we were able to get the two kids separated.”
Play resumed a few minutes later and Bradwell took its only lead, 21-20, with 1:25 left in the third quarter when Cobb connected with Marsalis Jackson for a 75-yard touchdown. Jackson ran for a two-point conversion.
Jackson finished with six catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Cobb finished 18-of-34 passing for 256 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
“They always give us a fight. And a good fight,” Jackson said of Bradwell. “We just felt like it was our time.”
Bradwell hoped to extend its lead, but the Tigers’ first possession of the fourth quarter ended after only one play when Cobb’s pass was intercepted by Grier. The Blue Jackets capitalized 10 plays later when Spivey threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Freeman. Spivey connected with Scott for a two-point conversion that put Savannah High up, 28-21, with 6:31 to play.
Bradwell’s second possession ended after five plays when Cobb’s pass was intercepted by Spivey, who returned the ball 53 yards to the Tigers’ 4-yard line. Trey Dillard ran for a 4-yard touchdown on the next play to put Savannah High up, 34-21, with 4:27 left.
Bradwell’s third possession ended after three plays when Cobb’s pass was intercepted by Kittles, who returned the ball for a 50-yard touchdown. Spivey’s two-point conversion run made it 42-21 with 3:34 left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bradwell’s Greg Howard returned the ball for a 60-yard touchdown. Jackson’s two-point conversion run made it 42-29 with 3:10 to play.
“Our kids are playing hard for us. We just shoot ourselves in the foot at the worst time,” Walsh said. “We get up, then we let them score again. We threw the interception that was returned to the 3 down here. Then we threw the pick six. We’ve got to start believing we can win and quit giving the game away off of just mental mistakes after mental mistakes.”
BI 0|7|14|8 — 29
SH 6|14|0|22 — 42
SH — Kavon Freeman 20 pass from Jovante Spivey (pass failed)
SH — Sean Scott 9 pass from Spivey (Spivey run)
SH — Peter Smith 7 pass from Spivey (pass failed)
BI — Markell McKee 25 pass from Myrese Cobb (Robert Miller kick)
BI — Cobb 3 run (kick failed)
BI — Marsalis Jackson 75 pass from Cobb (Jackson run)
SH — Freeman 8 pass from Spivey (Scott pass from Spivey)
SH — Trey Dillard 4 run (run failed)
SH — James Kittles 50 interception return (Spivey run)
BI — Greg Howard 60 kickoff return (Jackson run)
First downs |13|16