After three weeks on the road, it was a welcome sight for the Godby football team to run out onto Hurley Rudd Field at Gene Cox Stadium and play a city opponent.
The first three weeks were trying and the Cougars took some lumps, but they’ve also made strides.
First things first, Godby got back to winning, using typically strong running and energetic defensive line play to pull away from Leon for a 35-7 win on Friday night.
Cougars quarterback Darius Bradwell wiggled out of backfield tackles and scored a touchdown in the win, while the Godby defense created eight negative yardage plays for Leon (2-2) to adjust to. Godby improves to 2-2.
“It was so nice to be back here,” Cougars coach Todd Lanter said. “As poorly as we’ve played at times over the first part of the year, we’re really about five plays away from being undefeated. I think we got better tonight.”
Wild and free
Cougars senior running back Tyquan Watson carried 12 times for a minimalist 44 yards in the first half. But he did punch in a five-yard touchdown for the game’s first score.
It came on Godby’s opening drive, a nine-play, 61-yard romp down the field. Watson finished with 96 yards on 21 carries.
Meanwhile, receiver Mike Carrigan got in on the scoring. The track sprinter took what the defense gave for a short hitch from quarterback Darius Bradwell, then split to Leon defenders for a 33-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 8:32 left in the second quarter.
“We went hard over the summer, I got a little faster and it showed tonight,” said Carrigan, who caught four passes for 59 yards. “When I ran my out route, I knew the DB would be outside so I turned up inside. I saw Damien (Crumitie) and thought ‘I know he fast’ so I had to kick it real fast to try to score.”
Moments after Carrigan’s score, Leon quarterback Ty Glasco fired a pass into the seam for his intended receiver.
Godby safety Cornelius Brown, who was closing in, got a hand up and after a few tips corralled an interception at midfield.
Brown found a channel up the right sideline and took the return 49 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
“First touchdown ever, it’s crazy,” Brown said with a big smile. “I reaad the quarterback’s eyes, did what my coaches tell me to do and I came up with a big play. I had to make sure I secured it.”
“Kani (Daguerre) called my name during the run back and I saw him shielding a guy out, and then there was a hole. From there, it was a touchdown.”
The Godby defensive line was stout, as previously mentioned. Cougars defensive lineman and FSU commit Cedric Wood was in the backfield for an early tackle for loss, then blew up a fourth-down attempt by Leon to start the second half, wrestling Lions running back Darquez Brutton down for a two-yard loss.
Defensive lineman Antwan Owens did the same in the fourth quarter, helping Godby set the tone up front.
“We’re just building a wall, because the defense starts with the defensive line,” Wood said. “We have to build a wall to allow our linebackers and secondary to make plays. Once they make those plays, Leon had no choice but to run the ball. Before we start to get better, we have to start by being consistent. Once we do like we did tonight, then we can start thinking shutout.”
Bradwell was a difference maker Friday with his legs, not just on rushing attempts but in escaping backfield pressure.
He rushed for 73 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter, while passing for 100. He left at the end of the third quarter with a slight ankle injury, but backup Peyton Scharinger came on to run for gains of 28 and 11 yards, the latter a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“When it breaks down, I’m just trying to make a play and provide the best field position for my team,” said Bradwell, who entered averaging 156 yards per game on the ground as the area’s leading rusher. “I just give credit to my team and my offensive line. We still have some work to do, to many holding calls and penalties because we’re so young. But we’ll correct those things this week.”
Line of offense
Godby’s brand new offensive line has been paving the way for a rushing attack that averaged 323 yards rushing coming into the game.
The Cougars are far from a finished product— the unit committed four holding penalties— but offensive line coach Cleon McFarlane is pleased with the progress.
“The holding penalties is us just simply not moving our feet,” McFarlane said. “If we move our feet, our hands are inside. But I’ve been trying to get them to use their hands more, so it’s kind of my fault. They’re a C+, C-, somewhere around there. We’re far from a finished product. We don’t pass block very well, that’s no secret, but I think the off week will help us really hone our skills.”
Fake punt magic
Down 28-0 following Bradwell’s third-quarter scamper, Leon went to its bag of tricks to get something going.
On fourth-and-7 from its own 31, a punt snap went to up-back Damien Crumitie, who burst through a wide open hole, made one man miss and was off to the races for a 69-yard touchdown.
“I was just trying to getting my team back in the game,” Crumitie said. “I saw a big hole and hit it. We’ve got to keep playing hard and working together as a team the rest of the season.”
Leon is at Florida High next week on a quest for 600 wins as it sits four away, while Godby has a bye week before a big District 2-5A showdown on Oct. 1.
Wakulla (4-1) travels to Gene Cox Stadium to face the Cougars.
“Wakulla coming up and it’s the biggest game of the year,” Lanter said. “We’ve got a week off for Darius and Kani to heal. We can get them healthy and have another week to work on Feleipe Franks. Scott has a good team, but it’s not just two guys (Franks and Keith Gavin). I don’t know how that game is going to go. They’ve got a good football team and we’ve got a team that’s getting better.”
GODBY 35, LEON 7
Leon 0 0 7 0 — 7
Godby 7 14 7 7 — 35
G — Tyquan Watson 5 run (Logan Roberts kick)
G — Mike Carrigan 33 pass from Darius Bradwell (Roberts kick)
G — Cornelius Brown 49 interception return (Roberts kick)
G — Bradwell 18 run (Roberts kick)
L — Damien Crumitie 69 run (Jack Driggers kick)
G — Peyton Scharinger 11 run (Roberts kick)
Passing— Leon: Ty Glasco 9-19-38-0-1; Godby, Darius Bradwell 7-17-100-1-0, Peyton Scharinger 4-6-24-0-0
Rushing— Leon: James Peterson 7-31, Darquez Brutton 16-19, Damien Crumitie 3-76, Glasco 2-(-11), J’Air Jones 1-4; Godby, Bradwell 9-73, Tyquan Watson 21-96, Mike Carrigan 3-11, Scharinger 2-39, Jerry Ray 3-10, Michael Hudson 2-1, Ferman Richardson 1-4
Receiving— Leon: J’Air Jones 3-20, Alonzo Waheed 1-5, Peterson 3-0, Jacob Owens 1-4, Brutton 1-(-1); Godby: Mike Carrigan 4-59, Titus Fain 4-46, Ray 1-9, Hudson 2-10
Leon (2-2), Godby (2-2)
Leon at Florida High, Sept. 25; Wakulla at Godby, Oct. 1