POOLER — The Bradwell Institute Tigers couldn’t overcome their mistakes and breakdowns. The New Hampstead Phoenix found ways to rise past theirs.
The Phoenix scored on their first four possessions and held off Bradwell (0-3) for a 27-10 win Friday night at Pooler Recreation Park.
Senior quarterback Pauly Seely threw three touchdown passes for the Phoenix, who improved to 3-0. “They continue to compete,” Bradwell coach Deshon Brock said of his Tigers. “They don’t hang their heads and quit.” The Tigers had chances. They opened the game with a 15-play, 52-yard drive that culminated in Jedidiah Samuel’s field goal. Bradwell got to the New Hampstead 2 before an illegal procedure penalty, one of six the Tigers incurred in the first half. Samuel’s field goal gave the Tigers their first lead of the season. “We didn’t finish off the drive,” Brock said. “But to come away with three was better than coming away with nothing. I was proud we came away with points.”
The Tigers also got to the Phoenix 44 before getting turned away on fourth-and-1. Their final scoring chance ended at the New Hampstead 7, when a tipped pass intended for Jones was picked off in the end zone.
“It was disappointing we couldn’t get it in,” Brock lamented. “We really wanted that drive. We had the look we wanted. There was nothing wrong with the read. Their kid just made a play.”
Other miscues also proved costly. A punt for minus-1 yard set the Phoenix up at the Bradwell 24, and Seely connected with Kamari Maxwell on the next snap for a 27-3 lead.
The Tigers had New Hampstead in a second- and-40, but on thirdand- 32, Seely found an open Jalen Hampton over the middle, who turned it into a 45-yard gain. Seely threw his second TD pass of the game on the next play, a 16-yarder to Malachi Lonnon in the back of the end zone.
New Hampstead was beset by its own miscues. A penalty wiped out a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Phoenix also committed 17 penalties, leading to 151 yards in markoffs.
The Phoenix, however, punted just once in the game, pinning the Tigers at their own 3 for the game’s final two plays. That punt concluded a 21-play drive that ate up more than 8 minutes off the clock. The Phoenix converted three third downs, and a fourth-and-10, on the drive to maintain possession.
Seely connected with an open Hampton down the seam for a 9-yard touchdown pass on New Hampstead’s first drive of the game.
The Tigers held the ball for more than 17 minutes of the first half, but the Phoenix struck quickly, and did so again to open the third quarter. Kaleb
Smith extended the lead to 20-3 on a 3-yard run with 9:05 to go in the third, and the Phoenix scored on their next offensive play, Seely’s pass to Maxwell.
Bradwell answered on Tyus Jones’ 26-yard touchdown catch, his third receiving score in three games, from Marquan Houston.
Seely ended the game with 208 passing yards, completing 15 of 23 attempts. Smith ran for 120 yards on 16 carries.
Houston went 2-of-6 for 33 yards. He also ran for 53 yards in the second half. Garrett went 15 of 19 for 118 yards.
Brock also slowed the pace of the offense, particularly on the opening drive, to protect a freshman starting his first game at center. New Hampstead had just six possessions for the entire game, while Bradwell had seven.
“We had to make sure our protection was on point,” he said. “So we had to slow it down a little bit. We went tempo at times, but we had to make sure he was good with the protection, starting for the first time as a true freshman.”
Bradwell travels to South Effingham on September 9. The Mustangs (1-1) blanked Islands 24-0 in their most recent game.
The Tigers replaced eight starters on offense from a year ago, and have only one returning starting offensive lineman. Brock is optimistic the Tigers soon will put together a consistent effort and snap their losing skid.
“The more they play, the more experience they get and the more confident they get,” he said. “I tell them, find that confidence, that aura we had in summer camps and in 7 on 7s. We find more and more success, that light is going to come on, and we’re going to get the wins we’re looking for.”