Byrd fans had to be feeling pretty good at the half of Friday’s District 1-5A opener against the Haughton Buccaneers at Harold E. Harlan Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets had done what they liked to do offensively, eat the clock and score with their option offense.
Haughton fans were probably somewhat concerned but they likely weren’t feeling all that bad themselves. After all, the scored was tied at 14. The second half would tell the story.
The ending turned out to be very pleasing to the Bucs faithful. Haughton shut out Byrd in the second half and scored three touchdowns in a 35-14 victory.
It was Haughton’s third straight victory over the Jackets after a long stretch of Byrd domination.
Haughton, ranked No. 6 in the LSWA Class 5A poll, improved to 4-0. Byrd, which has perhaps played the toughest schedule in the state, dropped to 0-4.
“I told our coaches tonight if you would’ve told me five or six years ago we would ever beat Byrd three years in a row I wouldn’t have believed it,” Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton said. “We were so far behind them for so long and they were real good. They had that stretch where they were as good as anybody. We weren’t quite there yet. We just felt like a few years we weren’t even competitive with them. They just always physically beat you up. Any time you can beat those guys it feels good.”
The first half went quickly with each team having to maximize possessions.
Byrd scored first on a 22-yard run by William Berry with 8:11 left in the first. Haughton answered with an 8-yard TD pass from Peyton Stovall to CJ McWilliams followed by Carter Jensen’s first PAT.
Stovall completely a 25-yard pass to McWilliams on the Bucs’ first offensive play.
With 47 seconds left in the quarter, the Jackets scored again on quarterback Cameron Felt’s 1-yard run.
Haughton tied it with just 2:59 left in the half on Keyshawn Davis’ 8-yard run and Jensen’s PAT. Davis had a big game, rushing for 153 yards on 17 carries.
“They were more physical than we were in the first half,” Brotherton said. “I’m not sure we were really ready to play like we should have been. They played well. Kind of took it to us. The score at the end of the half was big to get the score tied at halftime. Then we just played great in the second half.”
Haughton took the lead for the first time on a 3-yard run by Stovall with 7:36 left in the third quarter.
The Bucs led 21-14 going into the fourth.
Stovall’s 1-yard TD run gave the Bucs a 14-point cushion. Haughton had another drive stopped at the Byrd 1. But Logan Wilkerson intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown with 3:20 left in the game.
Per Haughton stats, the Bucs rolled up 406 total yards to 227 for the Jackets.
Haughton was balanced with 204 rushing and 202 passing.
Neither team was heavily penalized. Haughton had just two for 10 yards and Byrd four for 35. Byrd had two turnovers, and Haughton had one.
Stovall was very efficient, completing 12 of 17 passes for 202 yards. Tristan Sweeney didn’t catch a TD pass but he played a big role in the victory with seven catches for 116 yards. Matthew Whitten had two for 51 and McWilliams three for 35.
Haughton hosts Benton on Friday. The Tigers (3-1, 0-1) fell to Parkway 49-26 Friday night.