Tornadoes hand Indians first district defeat

Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 12:11 a.m.

STARKE — With a 20-point halftime lead, Bradford appeared to be in good shape in its District 4-4A rivalry game with Keystone Heights on Friday night.

That was until the Indians scored twice within the first four minutes of the third quarter.

But the Tornadoes answered with an almost seven-minute drive that allowed them to hold on for a 28-21 win over the Indians.

Lyndell Hampton rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as the Tornadoes (4-2, 2-1 district) knocked off the Indians (5-2, 3-1) for the second time in three years.

“Momentum is such a funny thing. Momentum is capitalization and execution,” Bradford’s first-year coach Steve Reynolds said. “It is capitalizing on a moment of letdown for an opponent. We did that.”

Reynolds gave the Indians credit for fighting back and playing what he said was good football to open the third quarter.

Keystone Heights’ workhorse running back Alex Gonzales (22 carries for 165 yards) ripped off a 54-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the half to make it a 20-7 game. Three plays later, the Indians’ John Brown snatched a pass from Bradford quarterback Jacob Luke (12-for-20, 147 yards) and returned it 44 yards down to the 1-yard line. Michael Carroll then ran it in to pull the Indians to within 20-14 at the 8:18 mark.

The Keystone Heights defense kept the momentum on Bradford’s ensuing drive. The Indians threw the Tornadoes for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-8 play from their own 30-yard line. However, KH was whistled for a personal foul after the play, which gave the Tornadoes new life.

Bradford ended up marching a total of 72 yards on 15 plays, capped by Luke’s 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to a wide-open Kenny Dinkins in the middle of the end zone.

That gave Bradford some breathing room at 28-14 with 1:33 left in the third quarter.

The Indians didn’t go away and were aided by a pair of fumbles by Bradford wide receiver Marco Grimsley in the final 6:24.

KH quarterback Blake Valenzuela hit Brighton Gibbs with a 12-yard scoring pass with 1:21 left to provide the final margin. Bradford recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

“The penalty hurt more so for taking out the momentum of the game at that time,” Indians coach Chuck Dickinson said. “I don’t question the kids’ effort, we just didn’t play very well in the first quarter.”

Hampton’s 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Jarvis Desue’s 2-yard run in the second quarter gave Bradford a 13-0 lead.

Bradford defensive lineman Markell Parks caught a pass from Valenzuela as he was being hit and returned it 25 yards for a score with 1:25 left until halftime.

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