BAMBERG -- In a hard-fought defensive struggle between two preseason top-10 teams, the Class 2A fourth-ranked Bamberg-Ehrhardt Red Raiders took a 7-0 non-region win Friday night over the Wolverines of Woodland High School.
B-E junior tailback Dahlil Wilkins’ second carry from the 10-yard in overtime gave the Red Raiders a 6-0 lead in the season-opening football game played at a humid Leon Maxwell Stadium before a nice opening-night crowd. Sophomore Hunter Bridges’ PAT pierced the uprights to make the score 7-0 B-E.
On Woodland’s possession of overtime after choosing to go on defense, junior quarterback Taurean Singletary had his pass intercepted in the right corner of the B-E end zone by senior cornerback Jerrald Manigault to end the game and start a celebration at midfield by the B-E players and coaches.
B-E’s Kevin “Butch” Crosby, who is now only four wins away from his 100th victory as a head football coach, decried his team turning over the ball and failing to execute. “It’s just stuff we have been preaching,” he said.
“We have to understand that’s when it shows on Friday night. I know it’s been rush, rush with the game coming so quick and not getting a lot of practice time. A lot of that is just mental and we’ve got to stay focused. I’m not sure we’re focusing enough right now,” Crosby said.
“But we got to change our (train) of thought and change our tempo up in practice,” Crosby said. “The coaches also have to start correcting some things. We as coaches have got to start correcting some things and start getting behind them and not letting some things go.”
Crosby continued: “It’s going to be a long season, don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of them fighting and staying in there and getting the win; we just can’t play like this. I told them we probably had more turnovers tonight than we had in the last two years here.
“That’s not like us and that has got to be cleaned up immediately,” Crosby said.
Woodland head football coach Ty Sibert said it was a hard-fought game, but he didn’t think his team executed well enough on offense or defense.
“We had our chances to win. Bamberg’s got a good football team. I’m not taking anything away from them. I think at the end, home field, they just gutted it out there at the end. It was a great game, overtime first game of the year. I thought both teams fought it out to the end,” Sibert said.
The first half saw both teams commit a number of unforced errors with the Red Raiders committing several fumbles. The B-E offense had several scoring opportunities in the first half but couldn’t covert a possession into points.
At one point, the Red Raider offense moved the ball to the Wolverine 13-yard line but was unable to score.
The Red Raider defense turned in another stellar performance, holding the Wolverine spread offense in check most of the game.
“The defense played a heck of a game,” Crosby said. “They stood in there and kept us in the game, but we just got to get better offensively.”