PICKENS — After last week’s disappointing loss to Easley, the Blue Flame came back reenergized, regrouped and dominated the Pendleton Bulldogs 38-14.
“We made some mistakes last week but we were able to overcome tonight against Pendleton,” Pickens head coach Chad Seaborn said Friday. “The coaching staff did a great job of putting the right people in the right places, and this was the key to our victory. Moving Elijah Turner to quarterback to replace Mason Covey, who moved to play the wide-out position, was instrumental in the attitude and outcome of the game.”
Pendleton started out in the first quarter with possession of the ball, but was held back by the Pickens defense led by Justin Francis and Tyler Gravely. Pickens quickly went to work but was unable to convert on a field goal, returning possession to Pendleton. The Bulldogs once again was unable to gain any momentum, punted to Pickens which scored on the next drive giving the Flame 7-0 lead with a little over three minutes left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs running back, Darius Barksdale, weaved his way through the Flame defense to score on a 99 yard run with the extra point to tie the game.
Pickens answered with an Antron Wakefield 58-yard run and a 9 yard touchdown rollout pass to J.C. Baker from Turner to extend their lead 14-7. Later in the quarter, Matt Gravely kicked a 3-point field goal for a lead 17-7. The next Bulldog drive was stopped short as a result of a fumble recovered by Dalton Yates for the defense. Pickens was able to take advantage and after a short drive, scores on a touchdown run by Jacob Addington, with an extra point once again by Matt Gravely, for a solid lead, 24-7, in the first half.
Pickens started the second half with a drive that resulted in a touchdown, but a holding penalty called the TD back. In spite of the set-back , Pickens came right back and scored on the next play with a pass from Turner to Covey and an extra point to a take a 31-7 lead. Mason Covey carried for the final Flame score in the game for a 38-7 lead over the Dogs. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs, Darius Barksdale, broke out with a 63-yard run for a touchdown to give Pendleton 14 total points with the extra point conversion.
Seaborn said, “The boys put a lot of work into the summer practices and this was the payoff. I told them to take what’s theirs. Our coaching staff did a great job of getting our team ready for this game. We can now concentrate on next week’s game against Liberty. We won’t take anything for granted. Liberty has a good team and we realize they will be ready to pound us and we will have to get the boys focused to meet the challenge. It is a lot easier to do that after a win than it is after a loss. Great teams are able to handle adversity and success, and hopefully we can be victorious.