BARNWELL -- The No. 4-ranked Class 2A Red Raiders of Bamberg-Ehrhardt scored 21 unanswered second-half points to come away with a convincing 21-0 win over the second-ranked Barnwell Warhorses Friday night at W.W. Carter Stadium.
With the win, the Red Raiders improve to (8-1,4-0) on the season and take a big leg up in the race for their second consecutive Region 5-2A championship and home field advantage throughout the lower state playoffs. The Barnwell Warhorses, who came into the contest with an unblemished record, are 8-1 and 3-1.
After a defensive first half, B-E head Coach Kevin Crosby said he told his players at halftime they just needed to make a few adjustments.
“We moved the ball in the first half but we just couldn’t find a way to punch it in,” said Crosby, who recently won his 100th game as a high school coach. His team got in the red zone but a penalty or missed block here or there ruined the scoring opportunity.
“We just went in and made a few formation adjustments, that was it,” Crosby said. “They responded. They knew what we had. They knew we had a chance and they just came out and executed."
At the start of the third quarter with the score tied 0-0, another Jerrald Manigault interception put the Red Raiders in business on the 37 of the Warhorses. On fourth-and-goal from the Barnwell 5-yard line, B-E quarterback A.J. Williams, who was the T&D Offensive Player of the Week last week, scored from 5 yards out to make the score 7-0 after Hunter Bridges Kinard’s PAT pierced the uprights with 8:42 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with the Red Raiders clinging to a slim 7-0 lead.
With 9:12 left in the final quarter, Williams found KeSean Brown out of the back field on a wheel route on a play that carried to the Warhorses' 2-yard line.
From there, A.J. Williams' 1-yard quarterback sneak made the score 14-0 after the Bridges-Kinard PAT was good again with 8:29 left in the game.
With 7:43 to go, the Warhorses made a desperate attempt to make a comeback, but again the Red Raider defense that recorded its fifth shutout of the season made a stop with A.J. Williams going high in the air to get an interception.
The Red Raiders' final points came with 6:01 left in the game as Williams found wideout Reece Zeigler down the right sideline for a 50-yard pass play, making the final score 21-0.
The Red Raider defense turned in another sterling performance, holding Barnwell to only one first down and shutting down the high-powered Warhorse offense led by Mykal Lee, who fell far short of his 149-yard performance last week against Allendale-Fairfax.
Coach Crosby had nothing but praise for his large senior class. “We keep preaching to them about the brotherhood and legacy they want to leave behind.
“They (the B-E seniors) are playing for each other right now. They know what it’s all about. This thing is a family, a brotherhood, we’ve got to play for each other and play for those guys that came before you and those that are coming after you. You’ve got to have something for these younger guys to hold their hats on,” Crosby said.
Barnwell head coach Dwayne Garrick said his team fought hard but B-E was more physical.
“I think they were a little more physical than we were, especially up front. We didn’t have any success moving the ball early in the wishbone and when you jump out of the wishbone and go spread, that ain’t really what we try to do. We threw the ball fairly decent, but had a few drops. We played pretty hard defensively but couldn’t get anything going on offense,” Garrick said.