Sep. 1—BALDWYN — Booneville seized momentum in the second half and left the skunk bowl with the sweet smell of success.
Quarterback Noah Gillon, harassed by the Baldwyn defensive front in the first two quarters, was 5 for 8 for 97 yards and two touchdowns after the break, and the Blue Devils won 34-26 at Latimer Park Friday.
The big play was a 79-yard touchdown pass to speedy Braxton Orender who got behind the Baldwyn secondary and easily won the race to the end zone.
That came with 11 minutes, 14 seconds left in the third quarter after the Bearcats had threatened to pull away. Baldwyn had taken a two-touchdown lead with a 20-yard run by Marquez Davenport in the first minute of the third quarter.
Bearcats quarterback Dy'Lan Johnson drove his team down the field and after a pass interference penalty had one play from the 14 to possibly extend the game to overtime. His pass was intercepted in the end zone.
Baldwyn was often its own worst enemy with mistakes, penalties and turnovers throughout the night, the most costly being a fumble by Davenport with less than 5 minutes to play.
The Bearcats, trailing 27-26, went for the first on fourth-and-1 from their 26. Davenport got the yardage but dropped the ball, and the Blue Devils pounced.
Zion Nunn scored from a yard out after a 16-yard scramble by Gillon.
Booneville took its first lead from the early minutes when Gillon passed 24 yards to Ikerious Leslie with 1:14 left in the third.
Baldwyn overcame an ugly first half to finally take the lead on a 1-yard run by junior running back Terrell Robinson. The kick put the Bearcats ahead 19-13 with 32 seconds left.
Before that Baldwyn had three touchdowns called back by penalties and lost another when quarterback Johnson had a beautiful 40-yard pass dropped at the goalline. The Bearcats also fumbled inside their 10.
While the Bearcats couldn't get out of their way on offense their defense came up smelling like roses.
Booneville struck quickly when Gillon threw a quick pass right to Nunn who had the numbers and the blocking to dash 53 yards to the end zone.
That was the end of the first-half highlights for the Blue Devils whose lost rushing yardage had them finish with 60 yards in the first half.
Their other touchdown came when Bryson Saylors scooped up the punt fumbled by Baldwyn's Hastin Nelson and ran 20 yards for the score.