YORK — Bruton football coach Reggie Jones gets points for using the perfect analogy this week to summarize the challenge his very young team would face in its season opener. Unfortunately, his prescience did not net his team any points on the scoreboard.
"I was telling you in the interview the other day that it's like the Mike Tyson saying about everyone having a game plan until they get slapped in the face," Jones said. "I wanted to see how our kids would react and you saw it."
Like so many of Tyson's opponents, Bruton was overwhelmed in falling 27-0 to Amelia County on Friday at Bruton Field. Starting solidly on defense, the Panthers kept the game scoreless until the final three minutes of the first half.
But after William Green passed 46 yards to Richard Perry for a touchdown to give the Raiders (2-0) a 7-0 lead with 2:49 to play in the first half, the game became one-sided. Before that score, Amelia had to keep the ball on the ground more than it wanted because of a driving rain.
The Panthers' two cornerbacks came up with big first-half plays to help slow the Raiders. Jalen Carr intercepted a Green pass before Isaiah Graves recovered a fumbled punt. Linebacker Daniel Jones led the Bruton defensive effort that limited Amelia to 55 yards through the first quarter-and-a-half.
But Bruton was even worse offensively, netting just 22 yards in the first half. The Panthers (0-1) didn't get their initial first down until early in the second half.
Midway through the third quarter, still trailing 7-0, the Panthers went for it on fourth-and-1 at their own 44. Gerard Walker stopped Bruton quarterback Greg Dockery for no gain, turning the game Amelia's way for good.
"I knew when we scored after stopping them, we could put our foot on the gas pedal," Amelia coach Adam Tiller said. "We had two good defensive tackles (Walker and Sean Clay) making a push, and two defensive ends (Courtney Bailey and Kyrei Greene) rushing them from the edge."
Greene helped the Raiders capitalize on the stop with his 23-yard touchdown reception from William Green that made it 14-0 with 2:02 left in the third quarter. Five plays after the Raiders recovered the ensuing onside kick, Javon Banks (104 yards on 19 carries) scored on a 31-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 20-0.
Bruton did not come close to scoring until the final minute of the game, when Dockery passed 46 yards to Graves against the Raiders' reserves for a first down at the 7. But the Raiders held firm, and Bruton, which won 14-6 in their meeting a year ago, was left licking its wounds.
"I knew when we stole that victory at their field a year ago, they were going to come back at us and they did," Jones said. "They outcoached us, outplayed us and were the better team tonight.
"We were not able to execute our game plan, and I give Amelia all the credit for that."
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.
AMELIA COUNTY 27, BRUTON 0
Amelia......0....7....13....7 - 27
Bruton......0....0....0....0 - 0
Ame: Perry 46 pass from Green (Redman kick) 2:49
Ame: Greene 23 pass from Green (Redman kick), 2:02
Ame: Banks 31 run (run failed), 18.7
Ame: Branch 1 run (Redman kick), 4:47
First downs: 16; 3
Rushes-yards: 35-173; 24-78
Passing yards: 90; 54
Comp-Att-Int: 4-10-1; 5-13-0
Penalties-yards: 10-90; 9-70
Punts-avg: 3-31.3; 7-39.4
Fumbles-lost: 3-1; 3-1