BAMBERG-EHRHARDT 7, WILLISTON-ELKO 6
By ERIC RUSSELL
BAMBERG — Williston-Elko was yards away from taking the lead in Friday night’s week zero matchup with Region 5-A opponent Bamberg-Ehrhardt. Instead, the Blue Devils came up just short on the 2-point conversion after Christian Sapp’s third-quarter touchdown pulled them within one point at 7-6 with. After a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the game, the score didn’t move, and the Red Raiders denied first-year head coach Derek Youngblood his first victory as the leader of the Blue Devils.
“Well No. 1, I’m just proud of our kids and our coaches,” Youngblood said after the game. “I though we prepared well like we needed to. The kids stayed focused. We didn’t make plays when we needed to. We made some mistakes, but we’ve got a young football team, and we fought.”
Perhaps the biggest mistake came in the fourth quarter when Keyshawn Ogletree attempted to pick up a punt in front of two Bamberg-Ehrhardt defenders but couldn’t field the ball cleanly. Instead of having the ball down one with just under five minutes to go, Youngblood’s team was forced to get another stop, which they did, and attempt to mount a comeback with just under two minutes left in the game. The rally came up short as quarterback Marcell Wright was sacked as time ran out on the clock.
Defensive stops were the story of the game for Williston-Elko. Time after time, the Red Raiders would be mounting drives only to have them cut short by Williston’s defense. Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s first two offensive possessions found the red zone and Williston-Elko kept the score knotted at zero including on a drive which the Raiders started inside the ten.
“Coach Lipsey and our staff do a great job with them,” Youngblood said of the defense. “I’ve said all year long this could be the best defensive team we’ve had in a long time, and it showed tonight. I thought we got pretty good pressure on (Savalas) Cann, which we had to do.”
Bamberg-Ehrhardt used a two-quarterback system and brought can in for the final drive of the first half. The move paid off for head coach Kevin Crosby. Cann found Kahl Gagum on a 19 yard pass with eight seconds left in the half to put Bamberg-Ehrhardt up 7-0. The touchdown strike came after Cann made a few big plays with his feet. Cann finished the game with 65 rushing yards on the night. Both he and Garret Zeigler were 1-for-4 on the night. Cann was also picked off by Ogletree in the game.
“Cann’s actually been banged up a little bit with a knee injury, so we were trying to hold him out as long as we could,” Crosby said. “Garrett did a good job of managing us when he was in there. We were trying to run a two-quarterback system coming into the season because both of them bring something to the table.”
Crosby said the main thing he would like his team to take from the game is to know to be a bit more disciplined. There were an abundance of penalties called on the Red Raiders, including some that halted promising drives.
As for Youngblood, he hopes his players now realize they can play with anybody. Next up for Williston-Elko is a road game at Class AA Silver Bluff.
“All year long, everybody said, ‘Williston’s going to be 0-3 out of the gate.’ We may very well be 0-3 out of the gate, but these kids are going to fight ... That’s what I want out of them,” Youngblood said.
BE 0 7 0 0 — 7
WE 0 0 6 0 — 6
BE – Savalas Cann 19 pass to Kahl Gagum (Robinson kick good) 0:08
WE – Christian Sapp 10 run (2-point conversion no good) 5:25
BE – Savalas Cann 11-65, Josh Brown 9-51, Jamari Dunbar 7-23, Keyshawn Orr 1-4
WE – Marcell Wright 14-24, Devon Fagans 10-28, Fabian Bing 6-27, Chrisitian Sap 3-19 TD, Tyran Parker 1-(-3), Andre Dunbar 4-11, Andrew Milligan 3-5
BE – Garret Zeigler 1-4-31, Cann 1-4-19 1TD 1INT
WE – Marcell Wright 3-8-27 1INT
BE – Kahl Gagum 1-19 1TD, Lasamuel Davis 1-31
WE – Christian Sapp 1-13, Justice Wallace 1-4, Da’Twon Owens 1-10
BE – AJ McDonald 1-8
WE - Keyshawn Ogletree 1-0