Led by two strong running backs, the Laney Buccaneers came from behind to spoil senior night for the Screaming Eagles.
Senior Jamius Beckett had two touchdowns and junior Imeek Watkins ran for over 150 yards and one touchdown in the Bucs’ 21 – 10 win at Ashley.
“Those guys have been pretty tough all season long for us,” Laney Head Coach Aashad Yeoman said of Beckett and Watkins, who had the ball on nearly every play and kept the Ashley defense on their toes. “We just tried to be a little physical. That was the game plan all week long.”
“For the most part we had them, but we didn’t do a good job filling the gaps like we should from a linebacker position,” Ashley Head Coach Jeff Turner said. “I thought defensively there were some mismatches … but they fought real hard. I credit the kids, they gave it everything they had.”
Ashley scored on their first drive of the game on a 31-yard field goal by senior kicker Seth Kujawski. At the beginning of the second quarter, an interception by junior linebacker Kymel Bloodworth set up a touchdown drive for Laney that ended with a 13-yard run into the endzone by Watkins.
The Screaming Eagles answered with a touchdown of their own to take a 10-7 lead into the half. That would be the end of their scoring for the night, however, as their offense was shut down in the second half.
“We couldn’t get any momentum going offensively, and that was frustrating,” Turner said. “We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do and drive the ball down.”
The second half started sloppily, with both teams fumbling the ball early in the third quarter. In the fourth, Beckett took over, scoring two touchdowns in less than six minutes, including one on a 52-yard run into the endzone to seal the game for the Bucs with just over five minutes left to go.
“Every time he gets the ball, he’s going to try to take it to the house,” Yeoman said of Beckett, who had two runs of 50 or more yards.
“We made some mistakes defensively,” said Turner, whose team has been plagued with injuries. “It was very disappointing. We’re all disappointed that we didn’t follow through and take care of business tonight.”
After ending the season with a conference record of 2-4 and and overall record of 3-8, Turner said he’s hoping that the staff and players can improve next year.
“[The players] fought hard and they just got to bounce back from it next year,” Turner said. “From here we can build off what we have and what we’ve done this year and take that to the next level.”
For the Laney Buccaneers, who finished third in the Mideastern conference with a record of 4-2 (5-6 overall), it is time to play the waiting game to see if they get a playoff spot.
“If we get a chance to play another game, we’re going to take advantage of it,” said Yeoman.