BAMBERG – It’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive.
That’s true in golf and also in football.
On Friday night, the Bamberg-Ehrhardt football team got off to a rough start, trailing Allendale-Fairfax 20-0 early in the third quarter.
But the Red Raiders never stopped pushing to get back in the game, scoring 27 unanswered points down the stretch to take a 27-20 win in the battle of two previously unbeatens in Region 5-A.
B-E moved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in region play, while A-F fell to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in region play.
Senior Keshawn Orr scored both the go-ahead touchdown and the game-clinching touchdown, breaking away for a 35-yard scoring run with 3:44 left in the game and taking a third-down handoff 24 yards to seal the win with a score when there was just 1:06 left to play.
“We always talk about finishing, so we wanted to come back out in the fourth quarter and fight and win this game,” Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Keshawn Orr said. “My number was called and I had to step up.”
The Red Raiders trailed 12-0 at halftime after netting just 32 rushing yards in the first two quarters, compared to exactly 100 net rushing yards by the Tigers in the same time frame.
“No matter what you say, that was a 6-0 football team, a good football team we just played,” B-E head coach Kevin Crosby said. “They’re built just like we’re built, so it was all about can we sustain and come back from being down 20-0. I thought we did a great job of doing that.
“The kids told us at halftime, ‘coach, the game is built on four quarters, just give us a chance.’ This is a good win, but we’ve just got to keep pushing and keep driving the rest of the season.”
Each team had three unfruitful possessions in the first quarter. Allendale-Fairfax finished their third drive with the first play of the second quarter, as senior quarterback Jamari Orr ran around right end on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line and was stuffed by Red Raider Jashaun Wilson and others.
Starting their fourth drive of the night from their own one-yard line hurt the B-E offense’s chances, forcing them to punt after a three-and-out series.
The Tigers made sure their fourth possession of the night counted, as they capitalized on a short Red Raiders’ punt that gave them field position at the B-E 35-yard line to start the following drive. Jamari Orr found Travonte Williams on a 12-yard pass play on fourth-and-four, to keep the drive alive. Four plays later, Williams took the handoff and went in the end zone untouched for a touchdown with 6:21 left in the half. The Red Raiders defense stopped Williams on the two-point run try, leaving it a 6-0 game.
Each team fumbled away their following possessions, with Tigers’ defensive end Deon Priester recovering a B-E drop and Red Raiders’ defensive linemen Raysheem Dickerson and JaColby Brown pouncing on an AF bumbled handoff.
But, after another B-E three-and-out series, A-F got the longest single play of the game, when Jamari Orr found senior wideout Justin Johnson on a 37-yard pass that Johnson turned into a 91-yard touchdown. The Red Raiders defense once again stopped the two-point run attempt, for a 12-0 score.
B-E’s final possession of the first half ended with a D’Najee Whosendove’ interception.
The Tigers defense got in on the scoring before the midway point of the third quarter, as Priester broke through the line, batted down a B-E lateral from junior quarterback Hunter Etheridge, and recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Kenyarda Smith carried in the two-point conversion for a 20-0 lead for the Tigers with 8:16 left in the third.
Things didn’t look good for the home team at this point. But Keshawn Orr returned the ensuing kick 55 yards for the Red Raiders. With a penalty added onto the play, B-E started with a first down at the A-F 11-yard line. Three plays later, Savalas Cann rolled out and found Wilson for a five-yard touchdown pass. Etheridge added the PAT kick for a 20-7 score at the 6:52 mark of the third.
Cann kept the momentum back in favor of the home team by intercepting a fourth-down pass from Jerome Polite and returning it 48 yards to the A-F 40-yard line. Following an Etheridge’ 14-yard pass to De’Andre Horry, junior tailback Jamari Dunbar took the handoff and went 15 yards up the middle for a second Red Raiders touchdown with 1:37 left in the third. Etheridge added the PAT for a 20-14 score.
On the Tigers’ second drive of the fourth quarter, a short punt set B-E up at the A-F 35-yard line. Keshawn Orr need just one handoff and good blocking in front of him to go untouched off left tackle for the touchdown on first down. Etheridge made the PAT kick for a 21-0 lead, the first for the home team, with 3:44 left to play.
Led by stops from linebackers Nicholas Hughes and Josh Singleton, the Red Raiders stopped the following Tigers drive in four plays.
With the Red Raiders getting the ball back on the A-F 29-yard line, Keshawn Orr took the third-down handoff and went 24 yards up the middle for a score to give B-E a 27-20 lead. Etheridge missed the PAT. But the B-E defense ended the final A-F drive by forcing a fumble as time expired on the game clock.