Beaufort Academy falls to Jefferson Davis, 48-26, in home opener

Special to the GazetteAugust 30, 2013 

MACTOWER

This time around, four quarters of football proved too much for the young Beaufort Academy football team to handle against a more experienced opponent.

Despite building a 20-8 lead midway through the second quarter, the Eagles allowed 32 second half points -- 26 of them unanswered -- to visiting Jefferson Davis on Friday night and fell in their home opener 48-26.

The loss, which is the first under new coach Brock Vaigneur, came a week after the Eagles opened the season with an 18-0 victory at Georgia's Twiggs Academy in a game shortened to one half by inclement weather.

"They just flat wore us down tonight," Vaigneur said. "We really needed that four quarters of football last week and we didn't get it because of the rain. Our guys had great effort, they just got us in the fourth quarter."

Instead of they, the first-year coach might well have meant he, as in tailback Dalton Bell. The sophomore ran for more than 200 yards on Friday and scored six touchdowns in his first start for the Raiders.

Though small in stature, he was huge in performance, slashing and powering his way through the Eagle defense for much of the night, but especially in the second half, where he scored four times, including three in the final quarter.

"He was very good tonight," said Raiders coach Curt Ott. "He actually got knocked out in the first quarter last week so this is really the first game he played. We rode him all night."

The performance overshadowed an equally strong showing by Beaufort Academy's own Reyn Robinson who scored three touchdowns of his own; including a 76-yard kick return on the game's opening play that seemed to jump start the Eagles, who were looking to get off to a 2-0 start under their new coach.

After surrendering Bell's first score of the night to fall behind 8-6, Beaufort Academy rebounded late in the first quarter with a 14-yard touchdown run by quarterback Clay Melville that put them ahead, 12-8.

Not long after, Beaufort Academy turned back to their junior running back who answered with a 15-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion scamper to give the Eagles that 20-8 lead.

"Reyn played really well, we just need to find someone to complement him," Vaigneur said. "He ran the ball hard and made big plays, he just needed some help in the second half."

While things certainly got away from the Eagles in the second half, they began to slip late in the second quarter. The Beaufort Academy defense, which had played so valiantly almost the entire half, gave up a 90-yard drive that was capped by a Bell touchdown reception from quarterback Will Gee with only a couple minutes left to play.

Still, the Eagles went into the half with a 20-16 lead and with some relative confidence.

"The score might not show it, but we didn't get blown out in this game," Vaigneur said. "The kids just need to see what it takes to win games and we'll be just fine."

It didn't take long for the signs of fatigue to show in the second half. Once again behind Bell, the Raiders took the opening drive and scored in just six plays with the star of the game finishing the deal on a 33-yard scamper.

The Eagles would regain the lead at 26-22 a couple minutes later behind a 15-yard run by Robinson, but the offensive fireworks for the home team would pretty much fizzle right there.

The Raiders recaptured the lead for the final time on yet another six-play drive, this time when Gee found Wesley Ott on a 17-yard pass play, which sent them into the fourth quarter in front 28-26.

The final 15 minutes then belonged to the visitors as Bell would score three more times, including a final 56-yard burst that made the score look a lot worse than things really were.

In fact, with nine minutes left in the final period, the Eagles, who have only one senior on their roster, trailed by only eight points and had possession of the football.

"Beaufort Academy played really well tonight, they deserve a lot of credit over there," Ott said. "We were just able to wear them out as the game wore on."

For Vaigneur the loss is a teaching moment both for his team and himself. The coach has spent the better part of limited practice time working on fundamentals and techniques and now has a better feel for his team just six quarters into the season.

"I know what we need to work on now," he said. "We'll get right back at it and these kids will get better as the season goes on. We're going to be all right."

JEFFERSON DAVIS ACADEMY 48, BEAUFORT ACADEMY 26

Beaufort Academy 12 8 6 0 -- 26

Jefferson Davis 8 8 12 20 -- 48

First Quarter

BA -- Reyn Robinson 76 kick return. (run failed)

JD -- Dalton Bell 25-run (Collin Thomas run)

BA -- Clay Melville 14 run (run failed)

Second Quarter

BA -- Robinson 15 run (Robinson run)

JD -- Bell 10 pass from Will Gee (Wesley Ott pass from Gee)

Third Quarter

JD -- Bell 33 run (run failed)

BA -- Robinson 15 run (run failed)

JD -- Ott 17 pass from Gee (pass failed)

Fourth Quarter

JD -- Bell 18 run (run failed)

JD -- Bell 3 run (run failed)

JD -- Bell 56 run (Ott pass from Gee)

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