LIVE OAK, Fla. — Suwannee High scored on its first three possessions and took a 21-0 lead into halftime, and cruised to a 27-0 win against the Yulee Hornets in the Kickoff Classic at Langford Stadium on Friday night.
Twice on their first drive, the Bulldogs almost faltered but the Hornets were called for pass interference on a third-and-7 pass. And after Nyalen Seymour ripped off a run to the Yulee 18 for a first down, the drive again nearly stalled but quarterback Tyree Taylor scored on a fourth-and-2 run to put Suwannee up 7-0.
On Yulee’s first drive, Suwannee’s defense responded with a sack to force a punt, a sign of things to come as the Bulldogs swarmed the Hornets’ for much of the night.
“We got to the quarterback,” Suwannee coach Kyler Hall said. “The defense played well, but we missed a lot of tackles.”
Taylor started Suwannee’s second drive like the first ended with a big run, ripping off a 21-yarder on the opening play. On third-and-1 from Yulee’s 31, Taylor found receiver Wesley Jones over the middle for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
After a big pass play down the field, Yulee had a touchdown nullified by a penalty before the Bulldogs’ defense stiffened again with a pair of sacks — one by a host of defenders before Robert Robinson recorded another on fourth down.
Right before half and up 21-0, the Bulldogs had another chance to score but a perfect pass by Taylor in the end zone was dropped.
On the first drive of the second half, Yulee fumbled the ball away on its own 38-yard line and Taylor found Malachi Graham for a 28-yard TD pass for the final score just three plays later.
In addition to Seymour, the Bulldogs used Graham, DeMarius Thompson, Terrell Atkinson and Jaquez Moore in the backfield, continually switching them out.
“We got to be able to run physically, and it makes the pass offense dangerous,” Hall said, adding the offense has a lot of depth at running back.
The Hornets looked like they would score on their next drive, when their running broke free and got behind all the Suwannee defenders but Atkinson caught up and made the tackle at the Bulldog 16-yard line following a 49-yard run. The drive ended with a Bulldog interception at their 1-yard line.
There were a few more big plays in the fourth quarter, but that’s when the penalty flags on Suwannee started flying. Robinson had a nice run and Graham had a nice punt return negated by a penalty.
But for most of the game, Suwannee seemed poised and adept at using a no-huddle offense and lots of substituting.
“It was a pretty clean game,” Hall said. “The penalties came with some extra efforts at tackling.”
Suwannee opens the regular season at Fort White on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. start. Fort White tied Middleburg 7-7 in a Kickoff Classic.