The opening exchanges could be described as cautious and low tempo. Despite stifling defense, including a diving interception from two-way star Asante Das, the Allatoona Buccaneers struggled to kickstart their offense. The standout player of the first period was kicker Jude Kelly. On his first attempt of the night, he hit from 54 yards, a staggering distance for a high school player.
The same scenario persisted into the second period, as both defenses limited the opposing offenses to short drives. Jude Kelly went 1 for 2 in Quarter 2, with his make coming from 43 yards. The Canes thought they had finally broken though deep into the second quarter, with a 50+ yard screen pass landing them inside the 10 yard line, but it was called back due to offensive holding.
If caution was the story of the first half, then big, explosive plays were the story of the second. Jude Kelly pinned the Canes deep into their half with an exceptional bouncing punt, yet it didn’t faze their offense. After breaking multiple tackles, running back Quonte’ Jennings Jr. ran the ball 98 yards for the first TD of the night. On the resulting kickoff, #19 Troy Glenn broke off a return that gave the Bucs fantastic field position near the 50. The “big play” trend was shown again late into the third quarter. Faced with a 3rd and 22, QB Dante Marshall found his receiver on the two-yard line. This clutch play was duly converted on the next play by running back Jylan Thomas, making the score 13-7 in favor of the home team.
Trading strong, penetrating drives that just lacked end product, the teams looked destined to finish with the 13-7 score line. The Canes, however, still had points in the tank. Losing his coverage, receiver Sam Phillips caught a pass over the middle for a 65 yard TD. The PAT was converted, making the game 14-13 with little over 3 minutes left on the clock. QB Quonte’ Jennings Jr. found Asante Das over the middle yet again to set up a potential game winning field goal attempt from Jude Kelly, but ball was jarred loose and recovered by the Canes. After that intense 3 minute finale, the Canes walked away from Buccaneer Stadium with a 14-13 win.