Vikings Overcome Turnovers to Defeat Bulldogs

Oct 30, 2015

By: Robert Sumpter

There's an old saying it's not how you start but how you finish is what counts.  That statement couldn't have been any truer for Junior William Wright and the William M. Raines Vikings football team as they overcame eight turnovers, including six in the first half to defeat Jacksonville Bolles 35-30 and win the District Title for the second year in a row.

Over the past five years, the game between the two teams has become the best game in the city and usually determine who will have home field advantage for the inevitable rematch between the two teams in the playoffs.

This year there was added incentive as the teams came in ranked number one (Jacksonville Raines and number two Jacksonville Bolles) in Class 4A.

The first half of the game was simply a turnover fest.  Raines turned the ball over six times in the first half.  Their first turnover came on their first possession.  Quarterback Augie Debiase fumbled the ball at the Bolles 37 yard line stopping the Vikings on their opening possession of the game.  After forcing a three and out on defense, Junior William Wright fumbled the punt at the Vikings 8 yard line.  Two plays later Bolles Quarterback Mac Jones, who is committed to the University of Kentucky, scored on a two yard run to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Wright fumbled the ball again but recovered at the Vikings one yard line giving backing the Vikings up deep in its own territory to begin their next drive.

After a couple of first downs, Raines was forced to punt.  The punt hit a Bolles player and was recovered by the Vikings at the Bolles 40 yard line but the Vikings was not able to capitalize on the field position going three and out.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 14-0 when junior cornerback Ahman Ross, who is committed to the University of Miami, recovered a fumble and returned it 72 yards for a Bulldog touchdown.

The Vikings got on the board with 1:38 when  Vikings senior Bishop Bonnett broke off a 53 yard run up the middle for a touchdown.

The second half, both teams seemed to solve their turnover problems and was able to play good football.

Raines open the half with a 73 yard drive that concluded with a 38 yard touchdown pass to Ronald Patterson.  The Vikings missed the extra point leaving the score 14-13 Bolles.

After forcing a punt on Bolles possession, Raines took the lead on a 12 play 64 yard drive capped off with a three yard run by senior Alexander Rutledge.  Raines converted the two point conversion to give the Vikings a 21-14 lead.

Bolles cut into the lead with a 28 yard field goal by female kicker Erika Clark, making the score Raines 21 Bolles 17.

Bolles capitalize on a interception by Joe King to retake the lead 24-21 on a five yard touchdown run by Isaiah Westbrook.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Raines retook the lead on a 46 yard touchdown pass from Debiase to Patterson.  After converting the two point conversion, the Vikings led 29-24.

With less than five minutes in to go in the game, Bolles marched 85 yard down the field scoring on a 17 yard pass from Jones to Westbrook to give the Bulldogs a 30 to 29 lead with 1:36 seconds and seemingly the victory.

On the ensuing kickoff, Bolles attempted to kick it high and short to not give Raines and opportunity to return, but William Wright ran underneath the ball and caught it on a hop.  82 yards later, Wright returned the kickoff for the touchdown to give the Vikings the 35-30 victory.

"I can't take too many more of these games.  Every year it seems as if they all come down to the final play and it's just such a great game to be a part of.  My hats off to Coach Rogers, he's the best and I am trying to model my program like his."  Raines coach Deran Wiley said.

After years of not playing each other, the Raines versus Bolles game has become one of the city's best rivalries and most anticipated game in the area.  Round one goes to Raines but most expect a round two to make it to the Championship game in about three weeks.


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