HENDERSONVILLE Although Ty Dean caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Nelson Smith as time expired, Beech attempted a two-point conversion for the victory and came up short in a 17-16 loss to visiting Cane Ridge on Friday evening.
The Buccaneers (3-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 6-5A) led 10-0 at the half, but the Ravens (5-0, 2-0) scored the next 17 points to escape Shackle Island Stadium with an undefeated record still intact.
Five things to know from Friday’s contest for first-place in Region 6-5A):
Beech began last week’s contest against Hendersonville by running the play clock down to five seconds before snapping the ball. Against the Ravens, the Buccaneers took the clock down even further, waiting until three seconds remained before beginning a play.
“We were just trying to dominate the time of possession,” Beech head coach Anthony Crabtree said. “I felt like we did a decent job of that.”
Beech had four drives last more than four minutes, including a series that lasted 6:08 and resulted in Spencer Rankin’s 2-yard touchdown run with 2:41 left in the first half.
Buccaneer defense slows high-powered Ravens
Cane Ridge entered Friday’s game averaging 40.1 points per game in its four previous contests. Beech’s defense – with help from the clock-chewing offense – held the Ravens to a season-low 17 points and 256 yards of offense.
Jordan Bell and Emari Barton each had 64 rushing yards for Cane Ridge.
The Ravens’ longest play from scrimmage was 23 yards.
“Defensively, I don’t think you could ask for more than we got out of our guys tonight,” Crabtree said. “To hold those guys in what they do in their offense to 17 points – I think that’s pretty phenomenal to play that well.”
Trickery on both sides
Beech used a reverse pass last week in its victory against Hendersonville, and the Buccaneers pulled more out of the bag of tricks on Friday. Beech went with a halfback pass by Chris Peach to quarterback Spencer Rankin, who made a diving catch for a 13-yard gain in the first quarter.
Not to be outdone, the Ravens scored their go-ahead touchdown by throwing out of an end-around, with Christian Lancaster hitting a leaping Jared McCray in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
A mini-Hail Mary
The Buccaneers did enough on their final possession to put themselves in range to get a pass to the end zone, and quarterback Nelson Smith did just that, finding Ty Dean in the front left corner of the end zone as time expired. It was Dean’s only reception of the game, going for the final 26 yards of the contest.
It wasn’t the first time Beech has attempted a two-point conversion at the end of regulation, and it wasn’t the first time the Buccaneers have failed in doing so.
But Crabtree said the momentum of Dean’s touchdown reception played a role in the decision to go for two. Rankin rolled left as he did on his second-quarter touchdown, but found only Raven defenders out there waiting for him this time around, putting an end to his effort to win the game.
“I thought they were going to go for the (extra point), but they went for two,” Cane Ridge quarterback D.J. Thorpe said. “I was just trusting my defense and hoping they would make the stop.”
Reach Chris Brooks at email@example.com or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @CB_SumnerSports, and on Snapchat @cbrooksgne.