Through all of the music and hoopla of their homecoming week, Bradshaw Christian football players remained focused on the task at hand and took home a league win as a result.
The Pride took home a 28-7 homecoming win over Liberty Ranch and Jeremiah Bonner-Hayes made the most of his return with an early touchdown in the Pride’s Sierra Valley Conference Opener Oct. 4.
The win was the Pride’s second consecutive win and gave them a 4-2 record overall.
Being able to focus on the game in front of them was something that has come as a result of a mutual respect between team members, Bradshaw Christian coach Drew Pickert said afterward.
“They love each other and play hard and that’s the thing, they look at each other and play hard for each other. That’s all you want as a coach,” said Pickert.
Bonner-Hayes scored on a 51-yard touchdown run with 1:33 left in the first quarter and the Pride took a 6-0 lead into the second quarter.
The Pride added to its score when Elijah Christian scored on a run with 11:19 left and David Carr kicked the PAT to take a 13-0 lead.
The Hawks encountered rocky possessions thanks to sacks by the Pride in the second quarter as well as a few penalties that also hurt the Hawks’ efforts to put numbers on the scoreboard.
The Pride forced a turnover on downs with 5:54 left at their own six-yard line and would go on to score on a touchdown pass from Carr to Jaylen Patterson before Jackson Reese rushed for a two-point conversion with 1:58 left.
Liberty Ranch was sacked once again with 1:03 left and would be forced to punt before the end of the half.
The Pride also defeated the Hawks in 2018, 50-22.
“We knew it was going to be a good game coming in. They were 2-3 but we knew they had played some tough teams so we knew it was going to be a battle. Our defense played unbelievable,” Rickert said.
Nick Wells recovered a Hawk fumble in the third quarter but the Pride was forced to punt later during the same possession
The Hawks ended up scoring in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass from Aidan Carr to Cameron Hopkins-Senegal for a 21-7 score.
“We had moments where we executed both sides of the ball but consistency was an issue offensively and then defensively, although we played well at times, big plays hurt us in the first half. Three big plays, so that was really tough,” Hawk coach Anthony Linebaugh said.
The Pride would get those points back before the end of the game, however, as Christian scored on a 17-yard run with 2:39 left.
Rickert noted that despite some issues on offense initially, he saw progress as the Pride gear up to face the Warriors in Galt Friday.
“Offensive-wise, we didn’t talk enough on the line. We messed up our assignments a little because we didn’t communicate enough and it hurts when you play against a good team and you don’t communicate as you should. After we started communicating, we got a little better at it.”
“They gave us a great game last year so we expect them to do the same this year. Our league’s solid so we’re just trying to get better each week.”