Bruton snapped a 19-game losing skid on Thursday, winning 28-14 at King William High in Tim Smith’s head coaching debut.
The Panthers had last won in 2015 on the same field to open the season against the Cavaliers, when junior Josh Uvodich was a freshman.
Uvodich sealed the win Thursday with an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown to push the Panthers ahead three touchdowns as King William threatened to draw closer.
“It’s a big relief,” Uvodich said, “but it’s only one more step to another win; lay another brick here and hopefully we can keep building from here.”
After Bruton’s opening touchdown put the visitors up 7-6, an unreturnable kick from Panthers senior Owen Malik forced King William to start at its own 20-yard line with 2:33 left in the second quarter.
A poor snap sent the Cavaliers back to their 13 before punting back to Bruton with 1:18 left.
The Panthers took advantage of the short field, completing a 39-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 14-yard run by Giovani Campbell and Keandre Richards’ 5-yard touchdown snag from sophomore quarterback Adam McMillion.
“So to be able to win the field position battle was huge for us,” Smith said. “To go in with a lead at halftime, it really helped our guys’ confidence to come out and know that we can play with these guys and actually win this game.”
Uvodich’s interception was the most electric of the game.
The cornerback set his feet and got both hands around a pass downfield from King William quarterback Archie Alfonso that didn’t come out cleanly.
Uvodich raced down the sideline by the Cavaliers’ bench, not needing to shed a tackle after he got beyond midfield. “He’s an awesome competitor, probably one of the fieriest kids that we have,” Smith said. “He always is competing in practice and he’s just a product of his hard work. We already had high hopes for him. We knew that he would be a shutdown corner. He just has to relax and play. He’s going to be really good for us.”
BY THE NUMBERS
In his debut at signal caller, McMillion completed 6-of-14 passes for 75 yards, two scores and two interceptions, while also rushing for 76.
Darian Brooks led Bruton’s rushing efforts with 78 yards on 13 carries with a 21-yard touchdown.
Giovani Campbell added 58 yards on 10 carries out of the backfield for the Panthers.
A.J. Battle, Kailionie Cowles, James Johnson, Michael Tignor, and Chance Taylor started on Bruton’s offensive line, which gave up no sacks.
The Panthers’ defensive front was led by Cowles, Tignor and Jahmeel Aiken and limited King William standout running back Marc Gresham to 78 rushing yards, though he grabbed eight catches for 125 yards.
“They played out of their minds tonight,” Smith said.
HE SAID IT
“I thought it was out because when I caught it and looked down, my toe was out of bounds,” Brooks said of his 32-yard touchdown reception from McMillion to give the Panthers a second-quarter lead. “My toe, I guess, dragged in. That’s what (the referees) say.”
Bruton 1-0, King William 0-2.
Bruton: vs. York, Bruton High at 7 p.m.
King William: at Essex High, 7 p.m.
KW – Marc Gresham 8 run (run failed), 5:03.
B – Brooks 32 pass from McMillion (Malik kick), 2:33.
B – Richards 5 pass from McMillion (Malik kick), 0:30.
B – Brooks 21 run (Malik kick), 11:52.
B- Uvodich 85 interception return, (Malik kick), 3:49.
KW – Kolby Anderson 16 pass from Winston Jackson (Gresham run), 0:57.