Above: Beaufort Eagle Brandon Smalls, left, held up the Benedictine’s Za’Quan Bryan long enough to let Owen Davis move in for the tackle during their non-region game Friday night at Beaufort High School. The Eagles bested the Cadets, 33-23, to improve to 3-0. BHS will host West Ashley at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Photos by Bob Sofaly.
By Justin Jarrett
The Beaufort Eagles have run the Georgia gauntlet.
Tyler Haley threw a touchdown pass to Zyrin Odom and added two 1-yard touchdown runs in the second half, and Beaufort High’s defense slowed down another Peach State power in a 33-23 home win over Benedictine on Friday night.
Haley passed for 282 yards and a score and added 53 rushing yards and two scores, Amariee Morris rushed for 121 yards and a TD, and Odom finished with six catches for 136 yards in an impressive offensive display from the Eagles.
Beaufort gashed the Cadets on the ground with Morris and Haley picking up big chunks, and Haley picked apart the defense, throwing deep jump balls for Odom, whose basketball prowess has translated splendidly to the gridiron, and finding McLeod Reichel tight end Michael Dennison underneath. Reichel caught six passes for 73 yards, and Dennison added six grabs for 68 yards.
The Eagles marched down the field on the opening drive, punching it in on a 2-yard Morris run, but Benedictine’s Justin Thomas took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to tie it at 7.
Haley and Auburn commit Holden Geriner traded punches, as Haley and Odom hooked up on a 17-yard fade to regain the lead before Geriner hit Za’Quan Bryan for a 32-yard TD to draw even again. Benedictine seemed to have made a pivotal stop when the Eagles punted from near midfield in the waning minutes of the half, but the Cadets coughed up the ball on the return, and Beaufort cashed in with a 36-yard Joe Caprarola field goal for a 17-14 halftime lead.
Caprarola added a 21-yard field goal to stretch the lead to six after a strong goal-line stand from the Cadets, and Beaufort’s defense came up with a stop, but Benedictine pinned the Eagles deep, and penalties backed them up farther.
The momentum turned when the Eagles’ punt snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety, and after the free kick, Thomas promptly broke a tackle and raced 44 yards for a score to give Benedictine a 23-20 lead with 4:01 left in the third quarter.
Haley and the Eagles kept marching. They moved down the field with precision, and Haley capped it off with a 1-yard plunge to push Beaufort back in front.
Then the defense showed its mettle, forcing a fumble to set Beaufort up at the Benedictine 35, leading to another Haley sneak that all but sealed it.
Geriner and the Cadets didn’t go quietly, driving deep into Beaufort territory before a fourth-down stop gave the ball back to Haley to finish the job.
The Eagles (3-0) will take on their first Palmetto State opponent of the season when they host West Ashley on Friday.