Sep 8, 2012
E.E. Smith looked shaky from the start Friday night against visiting Douglas Byrd when quarterback Phillip Bell threw an interception on the first snap of the game.
Fortunately for the Bulls, the Eagles were even shakier.
Smith pulled out a 26-18 win in a game that featured nine turnovers by the teams combined and a slew of penalties on the both sides of the ball.
Despite Bell's opening pick, the Bulls (3-1) struck first, scoring after Byrd fumbled after a catch that would have put the Eagles in Bull territory.
Three plays later, Bell broke through the Byrd defense for a 40-yard touchdown run. A blocked point-after attempt left the Bulls' lead at 6-0 with 9:43 left in the first quarter.
That run helped Bell to a game-high 139 yards on 15 carries. The senior also threw for 64 yards and a touchdown, completing seven of 14 attempts.
Smith scored again five minutes later when Bell connected with wide receiver Ismail Williamson on a five-yard pass in the end zone. This time, Nigel Macauley's kick was good for a 13-0 Bulls' lead.
After a turnover and a punt on their first two possessions, the Eagles finally scored on their third drive.
Facing a fourth-and 13 situation from the Smith 15, quarterback Breon Davis found Jose Sanchez with a high ball to the back of the end zone. The kick was no good, leaving Byrd trailing 13-6 as the first quarter ended.
The Eagles scored again to open the second quarter on an 11-yard run by running back Garry Lewis. The senior led the Byrd offense with 117 on 20 carries.
Lewis' score pulled the Eagles to within a point at 13-12, but they would never get closer, as the Bulls scored twice more to put the game out of reach.
Capping the win
The first of those two touchdowns came with under three minutes to place in the first half. Bell, under center on second-and-9 at the Bull 26, handed the ball off to Ismail Williamson, who turned and fired cross-field to Alex Williams for a 74-yard touchdown.
Bell said that lead wasn't enough and that the turning point in the game for him came in the third quarter when the Bulls, holding a 20-18 edge over the Eagles, put together a 12-play, 88-yard scoring drive that drained nearly five minutes off the clock.
"I'd rather grind it out and take the time off the clock," Bell said. "And that way, we didn't have to put our defense in a bad position by having them keep coming on the field."
Douglas Byrd had some missed opportunities and untimely turnovers in the game that coach Russell Stone said proved costly.
"It was a lack of concentration and focus," Stone said. "E.E. Smith is a good football team, and we made too many errors. We just turned the ball over too much. We did everything we could to lose tonight."
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