The Bluffton High School football team found itself in an unusual situation Wednesday night: playing a game.
With Charleston-area schools dealing with flooding problems, visiting Wando High was forced to postpone its game with the Bobcats for five days.
Bluffton stayed ready during the interim. More than ready.
With Cameron Bent starting at quarterback for the first time, the Bobcats showed off a new look to send the Warriors back to Charleston with a 46-32 defeat.
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"It was a walkthrough for four straight days," Bluffton coach Ken Cribb said. "Every day, we thought we were playing the next day. That got old after the second or third time. Fourth time, it was like, 'I don't know what to tell you, fellas, but let's go again.'"
Bent certainly looked as if he was eager to get going, breaking off big run after big run to put Bluffton (5-2) in the driver's seat early on. The junior had an 80-yard touchdown run and six other carries in the first half that went for more than 10 yards. He had 13 carries for 222 yards in the first half alone while running the Bobcats' option attack.
"We've been playing with it in practice and it's been looking good, so we decided to give it a go," Cribb said. "The kid played hard."
With standout wide receiver Tyrese Sandgren sidelined with an injury in a loss to Hilton Head Island, Cribb opted to move usual starting quarterback Terrance Heyward to receiver and let Bent handle the snaps. It worked like a charm -- until Bent injured his left knee on a first-down run in the third quarter. He finished with 17 carries for 260 yards, but his status going forward is unknown.
"He'll have an MRI in the morning and we'll see," said Cribb, who said Sandgren would be back for the next game.
Most of the game seemed like a showdown between Bent and Wando's Kevin Brown. The Warriors' senior running back nearly matched Bent, piling up 224 yards on 21 carries. He scored every touchdown for Wando (1-5) on the night -- three on the ground and one on a reception.
Wando had closed the gap to 26-24 in the third quarter when Bent was injured, but the Bobcats didn't let that moment turn the tide in the visitors' favor. On the very next play, Austin Kendall took a sweep 19 yards for a touchdown, and Bluffton never looked back. It was Kendall's second score of the night.
The Bobcats scored in a variety of ways, notching points on runs, passes, kicks and with their defense. Five different players scored touchdowns in the win. One of the highlights was Ashby Cribb's 20-yard touchdown pass to Heyward on a fake field goal at the end of the first quarter.
The Bluffton defense had three fumble recoveries and intercepted two passes to keep Wando from mounting a serious challenge.
"We're 5-2. If we played every game like we did tonight, we'd be 7-0," Ken Cribb said. "That's ifs, ands and buts, candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas. But I'm proud of them. Winning is fun, but coaching these kids is more fun. They just work so hard, they've got such great attitudes. They're going to be great men. I'm proud of them, and I'm proud of these coaches."
The Bobcats are scheduled to host Ashley Ridge on Oct. 16, but with all the chaos caused by flooding around the state, that's not set in stone.
Bluffton 46, Wando 32
Wando 14 0 10 8 -- 32
Bluffton 21 5 13 7 -- 46
BLF-- Austin Kendall 6 run (D.J. Chappelear kick), 7:43
W-- Kevin Brown 53 run (Parker White kick), 5:35
BLF-- Cameron Bent 80 run (Chappelear kick), 5:24
W-- Brown 48 run (White kick), 5:14
BLF-- Terrance Heyward 20 pass from Ashby Cribb (Chappelear kick), 0:38
BLF-- Safety, Joseph Jenrette tackled in end zone, 6:30
BLF-- Chappelear 32 field goal, 1:19
W-- Brown 2 run (White kick), 10:42
W-- White 37 field goal, 7:18
BLF-- Kendall 19 run (pass failed), 4:56
BLF-- Lorenz Taylor 7 pass from Hunter Eldridge (Chappelear kick), 2:13
BLF-- I'kiem Jefferson 22 run (Chappelear kick), 7:16
W-- Brown 10 pass from Jenrette (Brown run), 5:20
Bluffton 46, Wando 32
Colleton Prep 30, Hilton Head Prep 20
Thomas Heyward Academy 27, Orangeburg Prep 6
Battery Creek at Garrett, 7:30 p.m.
Hilton Head Christian at Christian Academy, 7:30 p.m.
St. John's Christian at Beaufort Academy, 7 p.m.
Stall at Beaufort, 7:30 p.m.
Thomas Heyward Academy at Hilton Head Prep, 4:30 p.m.
Whale Branch at Bishop England, 7:30 p.m.
Woodland at Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 7:30 p.m.
Hilton Head Island at Berkeley, 6 p.m.