By PIERCE GREENBERG / For Franklin Home PageBGA scored on four of its last six possessions on the way to a 23-7 win over Smyrna.
It took Battle Ground Academy nearly 2 1/2 quarters to score its first touchdown of the season. But once the Wildcats got on the scoreboard, they couldn’t stop.
BGA scored on four of its last six possessions on the way to a 23-7 win over Smyrna High School in the 62nd Clinic Bowl Kickoff Classic.
Senior running back Keenan Bass carried the load on offense for the Wildcats, notching five plays over 15 yards including a 62-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
|BGA senior running back Keenan Bass rushed for 204 yards and a touchdown against Smyrna.|
“Keenan is the heart and soul of our team. He’s just a workhorse,” BGA head coach Roc Batten said. “Our offensive line did a great job blocking for him, giving him a seam. If you give him a seam, give him a chance, he’ll make a play.”
Bass finished with more than 200 yards rushing in the season-opener for both teams.
In the first half, both teams struggled to make plays on offense. BGA senior Ross Grossvenor kept the Smyrna offense at bay, pinning them inside their 10-yard line twice on punts.
A muffed snap with a second left in the half gave Smyrna the ball in scoring range, but senior Kimani Roberts sacked Bulldogs quarterback Matt Rodell to end the half.
The Wildcats offense started to click in the second half. Bass advanced the ball 25 yards before BGA junior quarterback Tucker Beathard bombed a 32-yard pass to Jordan Tutler. Junior fullback Noah Mayberry plunged one yard into the end zone to complete a six play, 80-yard drive.
“It was just better executing . . . we had some blown assignments [in the first half], missing a block here,” Batten said. “We tried to correct those at halftime and go out and execute and continue to stay with our game plan.”
|Bass earned the Clinic Bowl Offensive Player of the Game award.|
A 65-yard punt return by sophomore Ronald Cleveland put the Wildcats up 14-0 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Bass’s long run came at the 8:33 mark in the fourth quarter.
Brock Morss connected on a 39-yard field goal after a Smyrna touchdown.
Beathard started his first game for the Wildcats after watching his brother C.J., now at Iowa, lead the team.
“It was great,” Beathard said. “Not a lot of people believed in us . . . I’m so proud of our team.”
BGA plays at Ravenwood next week. The Raptors had their open date at the beginning of the season.