By Darius Cates
Friday, October 18, 2019, the Bullock County Hornets took on the Southside High School Panthers to reach the playoffs for the first time in school history.
Head Coach Willie Spears stated, “Tonight is a manifestation of hope. This is what a whole looks like. When I say whole, I mean a whole entire community from top to bottom, working as one. This is a result of what we can be. This is proof that there is greatness in Bullock County and I’m not just talking about football.”
Both teams were evenly matched according to the season’s records. The Hornets were determined to repeat last season when they blew out the Panthers with a score of 55-36.
It was a playoff atmosphere on the home team side as fans packed out the Thornton-Foster Stadium. The first half Bullock County displayed to their opponent why they were in a position to reach the postseason playoffs.
The Hornets stuck to their game plan with the running game and plays for the halfbacks and quarterback options.
The Panthers were seeking to disrupt the Hornet’s playoff berth to have one on their own.
Kendeous Owens continued to be the playmaker he has been throughout the season with three rushing touchdowns along with one receiving touchdown. Southside did not make it easy for the Hornets. The Panther’s offense was very capable to keep the game close. By the end of the half the Hornets had a 28-16 lead.
In the second half, Bullock County’s defense was able to step up by closing the gap against the Panther’s run. Overall the Hornets had a tremendous finish to capture their first playoff berth in school history with a 35-24 victory. “It’s unbelievable; the team had to come together all season. The coaches worked hard and we worked hard on and off the field,” said freshman quarterback Robert Williams.
The coaching staff also spoke about the accomplishment. Assistant Coach Jeremy Vines stated, “The kids worked extremely hard. They put in work in the weight room, on the field over the summer, and in the off season. These guys worked hard every day. The last four weeks these guys were battle tested every game and never gave up.” “It’s so exciting and it feels good. The kids bought in the learning process and thought process of how to be good football players and execute football. The coaching staff gelling together, getting on the same page, the players and whole community buying in, it just came into fruition,” stated Assistant Coach J.R. Richardson.
Senior defensive back Bryant Grant discussed what needs to be done to finish the rest of the season and get ready for the playoffs. Grant said, “We need to work on defense, tackle better and no arm tackle, and more catching.”
Kendeous Owens also discussed how the team can improve, “We need to get more physical upfront. When they start hitting us, we start giving up. When we start hitting them in the mouth it will be easy.”
The Hornets have two more regular season games left.
The next game will be in Montgomery with the Hornets versus the Eagles of Montgomery Academy with kickoff starting at 7:00 p.m.