For two years, every time the May River football team was in the weight room, two sets of numbers were staring back.
The lopsided scores from the fledgling school’s first two meetings with new rival Bluffton served up a dose of humility and a heaping helping of motivation.
“That was our motivation to get better every day,” senior linebacker Jordan Barrow said. “Every day. Now we’re here, and we’re something.”
The Sharks announced their official arrival in the crosstown rivalry Friday night, notching their first victory in the B-Town Showdown with a 35-21 win at Bobcat Stadium.
Brandon Morales rushed for 219 yards and three touchdown on 32 carries, and Ahmad Green rushed 15 times for 105 yards and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Livermon as the Sharks wore down Bluffton’s defense and controlled the ball for much of the second half.
“I had no doubt we could run it down their throat all night long,” May River center Gabe Long said. “And we proved that tonight.”
Video by Carlo Perruzza
For most of the night, the Bobcats had an answer to every May River drive. After Morales popped a 42-yard touchdown run to open the scoring in the second quarter, Shamar Sandgren took a short pass from Lee Kirkland and bull-rushed into the end zone to tie it. Morales gave the Sharks a 14-7 halftime lead with a 2-yard plunge, but Sandgren returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a score to tie it again. After Green’s 40-yard bomb to Livermon put May River back in front, Kirkland capped a long drive with a 1-yard sneak to once again pull Bluffton even.
But the Bobcats’ defense couldn’t seem to get off the field in the fourth quarter, and Green’s 46-yard toss to Jack Hegan set up Morales for another 2-yard touchdown for the go-ahead score. After a fourth-down stop at their own 21, the Sharks marched down the field again and sealed it on Travis Polite-Grant’s 1-yard touchdown run.
The loss drops the Bobcats to 0-2 with a trip to 2-0 Ridgeland-Hardeeville looming next week.
“We’re a young team, and when you make stupid mistakes you’re going to put yourself in bad situations,” Bluffton coach John Houpt said. “We talk all the time about adversity in life. You can either quit or you can keep on fighting and learning and grow.”
That’s a lesson the Sharks learned the past two years, as they struggled through a pair of two-win seasons, first enduring one lopsided loss after another in their inaugural season before suffering a number of narrow defeats a year ago. They’re finally seeing the dividends.
“This was our big brother moment,” Barrow said. “We’re not small little people now. We’re something big. We’re not the guy that’s just going to get ran over. We’re going to put something up.”
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