The beginning was good, but the end left something to be desired for Battle Ground Academy against Ensworth Friday night. On a night when BGA honored arguably the greatest football team in the school’s history — the 1966 state championship team — it was Ensworth that stole the spotlight from the home-standing Wildcats.
The Tigers won the battle at the line of scrimmage and were able to control the ball with their ground game, turning a tight 14-10 ball game at halftime into a 28-10 victory leaving BGA still searching for its first victory.
“I think we weren’t as physical as we needed to be,” Wildcats coach Tim Johnson said. “You have to hand it to them; they stuck to their game plan.”
The Wildcats (0-3) got solid performances from tailback Garry Hannah and quarterback Ben Caudill, but they were unable to stop Ensworth tailback Tavarres Jefferson, who rushed for a touchdown and threw for another when he lined up at QB. “I don’t think we got pushed around any more in our first two games than we did tonight,” Johnson said. “Our kids will bounce back, though. We just have to keep working; that’s all you can do.”
Rob Leathers also had a good night for the Tigers (3-0) carrying eight times for 131 yards, including a 44-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
“I thought we executed very well,” Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers said. “I thought our defense executed better in the second half than in the first.”
This is just the third year of football at Ensworth and the first full year for the Tigers to play a varsity schedule. They will begin competing for the playoffs starting in 2007. Bowers likes where the program is headed for the future but still knows there is still some growing to do.
“We’re on the right track to be a good high school football program,” he said. “We’re trying not to measure our success by wins and losses right now. Our intensity has picked up in practice this year, and we’ve got a tremendous number of participants for a school our size.”
Hannah got things started with a bang for the Wildcats, when on their second possession he outran the Ensworth secondary 52 yards for a touchdown. Brett Brodbeck’s point after gave BGA a 7-0 lead with 3:19 left in the first quarter. The Tigers answered on the next possession, however, driving to the Wildcat 26 when Jefferson lined up at QB and found a streaking Gary Pope in the end zone for a TD and a 7-7 tie.
Brodbeck booted a 37-yard field goal for the ‘Cats on their next possession to give them a 10-7 lead before Jefferson found the end zone again for Ensworth. The Tigers drove 80 yards in 11 plays eating up the last five and a half minutes of the second quarter to take a 14-10 lead into the locker room.
Tigers quarterback Harrison Ballard scored on a 2-yard run and Leathers added his 44-yard TD run to cap off the scoring. BGA had the ball just four times in the second half and was held to 55 yards of total offense over the final two quarters.