The Bullard Panther varsity football team continued its prowl into the pre-district schedule last week, as the team hosted the home-opener contest Friday, Sept. 7, against the visiting Spring Hill Panthers at Bullard’s Panther Stadium.
First to light up the scoreboard in their favor were the visitors from Spring Hill, crossing into the end zone on a 20 yard run through the Bullard defense. With a successfully kicked extra point attempt, Spring Hill was able to take a slight advantage early over Bullard, 7-0.
Bullard’s first offensive success came in the second quarter of play, as senior running back Reece Ricketts outran the entire Spring Hill defense, as he juggernauted past the goal line on a 50 yard touchdown run. The team’s extra point attempt by senior kicker Zach Van Winkle proved to be true, allowing Bullard to pull even, tying the game, 7-7 against Spring Hill.
At the halftime intermission, Bullard and Spring Hill were evenly matched up on both sides of the ball, as the teams headed for the locker rooms for halftime tied, 7-7.
After making their way back onto the gridiron for the second half of football action, the visiting Spring Hill team was able to add to their total with a 43 yard field goal to start the third quarter, followed by a 13 yard receiving touchdown and made extra point kick, putting Spring Hill up over Bullard by a 17-7 advantage.
Not to be outdone, Bullard came scratching and clawing back into the game in the fourth quarter with a 10 yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Garrett Esposito to senior wide receiver Landry Lasseter. Van Winkle was able to put the extra point kick straight through the uprights, allowing Bullard to narrow Spring Hill’s lead, 17-14.
In the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Bullard was able to punch the ball into the end zone once more on a seven yard diving catch by Lasseter from Esposito. The extra point kick by Van Winkle was no good; however, the late score by Bullard proved to be the difference in the contest, as Bullard defeated Spring Hill, 20-17.
Under center, Esposito completed 16 of his 26 passes for 156 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. Junior quarterback Mason Kelley also saw action in the game, completing four of 10 passes for 48 yards.
The Bullard rushing game went primarily through two workhorses, as Ricketts moved the ball on 12 attempts for 74 yards and one rushing touchdown, while junior running back Latrez Young picked up 27 yards on seven carries.
Senior wide receiver Kyle Holler was the leader in receiving yardage for Bullard against Spring Hill, reeling in five catches for 59 yards, followed by Lasseter, with five carries for 48 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Other key receivers for Bullard included senior running back Harrison Hopson (two catches, 37 yards), junior wide receiver Jaxson Elliott (three catches, 25 yards), junior wide receiver Nic Hooley (three catches, 21 yards), and junior running back Bryson Luscombe (one catch, 14 yards).
Defensively, Bullard was anchored by the strong play of Hopson, collecting a total of eight tackles and six assists.
Other key Bullard defenders included senior defensive lineman Brett Hammons (five tackles, three tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks), Ricketts (five tackles, three assists, one quarterback sack), Young (five tackles and two assists), senior defensive back Damion Brown (four tackles, nine assists), and junior defensive lineman Tanner Fowler (two tackles, two tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks).
With the victory against Spring Hill, the Bullard Panther varsity football team currently carries an overall record of 1-1 on the 2018 regular season.
SHS: 7 0 10 0 - 17
BHS: 0 7 0 13 - 20