Bison bowl over Bulldogs, 40-13
High Point Central held a block party at A.J. Simeon Stadium Friday night in Thomasville's honor.
The Bison blocked three Bulldog punts, including two for touchdowns, in a 40-13 victory. The special teams breakdowns, coupled with an inability to do much offensively against a fast, aggressive 4A defense, made for a long night for the Bulldogs.
"The game would've been a lot more competitive if we could have protected," said Thomasville assistant coach Dickie Cline. "Those punt blocks really hurt us. Turnovers really hurt us but our kids competed hard.
Thomasville (1-2) spent much of the first quarter defending its end zone as the Bison turned great position into a pair of early touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jamiel Mack threw for one score and ran for another, leading HPC to quick 13-0 lead. The drive was set up by a Demoris Payne fumble with 6:05 left in the second quarter at the Bulldogs 38.
Thomasville finally cracked the scoreboard as the first quarter expired when Jalen Jenkins connected with senior receiver Marvin Johnson on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
HPC (3-0) answered right back to start the second quarter, mounting a six play, 62-yard drive, culminating with Mack's third touchdown with 10:28 to go until halftime. The Bison started on their side of the field for the first time but quickly advanced to the one following a pair of runs from junior tailback Kavin Logan.
After nearly blocking a pair of punts earlier in the game, HPC finally broke through two minutes later when Tim Ward got to kicker Mailk Peterson at the Bulldogs 21-yard line. The ball careened into the end zone where Thomas Gorham recovered for the touchdown, pushing the Bison lead to 26-6.
"Our defense was on the field way too long," Cline said. "We're going to have a good football team before this is over with."
Thomasville failed to score in the opening minutes of the second half but a perfect punt pinned HPC on its own goal line. Zack Anderson recovered a Mack fumble in the end zone two plays later, cutting the Bison lead to 26-13. HPC continued its giving ways on its ensuing possession as Gorham fumbled at the Bulldog 41. Ja'hare Taylor Thomas recovered the loose ball, giving Thomasville hope of a comeback. Those dreams died quickly, however, following another blocked punt inside Bulldog territory. Jarariel Simmons' blocked punt and recovery in the end zone with 11 minutes remaining in the game completed the special teams hat trick for the Bison.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.