May River coach Rodney Summers sensed his team’s visit to Bluffton could get lopsided. Frankly, so did Bobcats coach Ken Cribb.
The only surprise, really, was the sheer size of the blowout.
A 50-yard touchdown that began as a screen pass, an interception return and a fumble return staked Bluffton to a 21-point lead before Friday night’s contest was four minutes old, as the Bobcats cruised to a 77-3 romp over their crosstown upstarts.
“It went about like it was scripted,” Cribb said. “That’s the way I felt like it would go, and that’s the way it went.”
It took just two snaps for the Bobcats (2-0) to take the lead. Hunter Eldridge threw an incompletion on first down, then hit Jermaine Patterson in the left flat with his second attempt. Patterson picked his way through the May River defense to the end zone just 25 seconds into the contest.
By the time the Bobcats got the ball back on offense, they already were staked to a 21-0 lead. Dylan Lapinski went 47 yards to the end zone with an interception, and linebacker Richard Jenkins received a gift when a bad snap bounced into his hands for a 2-yard scoring fumble return.
“I expected it, but not quite like that,” Summers said. “They’re the better team, but I didn’t expect my kids to not execute. We didn’t execute tonight. We gave up 21 points, and they had two plays. That’s uncalled for.”
The Bobcats would wind up denting May River’s end zone seven more times before the evening was through. Patterson scored twice more on quarterback keepers, I’kiem Jefferson scored both rushing and receiving and Bluffton led 56-3 at halftime.
“They’re young, they’re building. We’re experienced, we’re seasoned,” Cribb said. “We were crisp and we’re playing good ball. ... It was kind of a bad situation there.”
With the outcome well decided, the second half was shortened to eight-minute quarters. Even that didn’t stop the Bobcats from tacking on three more touchdowns.
Backups Josh Staple and Myles Young ran for second-half scores, sandwiched around Rick Storzieri’s TD when he fell on a botched May River punt snap in the end zone.
May River’s lone points came on a 38-yard field goal by Ryan Matovich, cashing in a Cam Bent fumble midway through the second quarter. The Sharks (0-2) were limited to just 5 yards of total offense until their final possession.
“It was just a culmination of a lot of things,” Summers said. “Inexperience on our end, lack of strength on our end. Maybe lack of knowledge, too. We’ve just got to get better.”
Freshman Joseph Tapscott threw for 28 yards for May River, but was intercepted three times. Running backs Dion Lollis and Brandon Morales often found themselves swarmed under by Bluffton defenders behind the line of scrimmage.
Patterson finished as Bluffton’s leading rusher (61 yards) and receiver (3 catches, 89 yards). Eldridge amassed 147 yards passing, completing 6 of 12 attempts.
Bent, one of the area’s top prospects, ran for 20 yards in his first action since tearing knee ligaments last fall. His first touch resulted in a 20-yard gain in the second quarter, but he fumbled on his second carry.