AMELIA — Defense was the hallmark for Bruton High's football team's championship run in 2009.
The Panthers rekindled some of the magic Friday night, putting in a great effort in a 14-6 victory at Amelia County in the Panthers' season opener.
Nursing a 14-6 lead with 13.7 seconds left, Bruton linebacker Daniel Jones forced a fumble by Amelia County at the 3-yard line. The Panthers pounced on the loose ball to end the Raiders' comeback attempt.
Bruton's defense, led by Kapri Doucet and De'Andre Kissoon, was stout against the run all night, limiting Amelia to just 86 yards rushing. That's a far cry from the 301 yards on the ground the Raiders posted in their season opener against Charles City last week.
A Drew Williams punt pinned the Panthers at their 1-yard line with 7:41 left. But Kapri Doucet carried four times for 32 yards and Bilal Wallace rumbled 53 yards as Bruton had a first-and-10 from the Amelia 12. Two plays later, the Panthers fumbled on the quarterback-running- back exchange, and Lavonte Bradley picked up the ball and returned it to the Amelia 37.
Bruton's defense held and forced a punt. On fourth down, the snap went over the Amelia punter's head, and the Panthers gained possession at the Amelia 29 with 2:46 left in the quarter.
Penalties stalled Bruton's scoring drive, as the Panthers were faced with a fourth-and-18 from the Amelia 24. The opportunity didn't go wasted, as Doucet hauled in a 24-yard touchdown strike from Wallace on the first play of the second quarter. Peter McReynolds converted the extra point as the Panthers led 7-0 with 11:54 left.
Amelia moved the ball throughout the first half, mostly through the air. QB Richard Brown completed 6 of his first 10 passes for 48 yards, but was unable to get his team in the end zone.
Bruton continued to pound it out on the ground in the second half, scoring on its second possession. A short punt gave Bruton great field position at the Amelia 36. Four plays later, Richard Taylor scored from 6 yards out around right tackle to take a 14-0 lead with three minutes left in the quarter.
Amelia's offense finally broke through in the fourth quarter. Brown orchestrated a nine-play, 56-yard drive and capped it with an 8-yard touchdown run. The Raiders missed the extra point and trailed 14-6.
The Raiders had two chances to score in the final six minutes, but Bruton's defense came up with the big play. Safety Zach Uvodich made a great diving interception in the end zone with three minutes left.
Brown made two key fourth-down completions to Richard Wojno, including a 24-yarder on third-and-10 to give Amelia a goal-to-go opportunity from the Bruton 6. But the Panthers' defense held firm and escaped with the win.
BRUTON 14, AMELIA 6
Bru: Doucet 24 pass from Wallace, (McReynolds kick), 11:54.
Bru: Taylor 6 run (McReynolds kick), 3:00.
Ame: Brown 8 run (kick failed), 6:17.