The opening game for the Bartow Yellow Jackets was delayed by lightning threatening the game in Auburndale, but that show appeared to be the omen of what was coming to the Hounds as Bartow took Auburndale 42-17.
In fact, so severe was the first half of play by the middle of the third quarter most Yellow Jackets started weren’t playing anymore as the teams went in at half time with Bartow in front 35-3
Bartow scored its first touchdown in the opening two minutes of the game as on the first drive, Daughtry had a 50-yard gain with the ball on the 40. On the next play, Leverett kept the pigskin and fought his way to the end zone. Alex Montes added the extra point to make it 7-0.
Auburndale took possession on the 20. The Hounds fumbled with James Adams recovering and Bartow offense came onto the field again. After recording a first down, Auburndale gained some momentum but that evaporated when the quarterback went back to pass, being chased by John Kilpatrick. As the passer attempted to throw, he lost control and Kilpatrick fell on the ball at the 14. Bartow was again in scoring position and the first quarter wasn’t halfway through. Cruz started carrying the ball, but Auburndale’s defense stiffened. A face mask penalty on the Hounds pushed Bartow closer with Cruz getting Bartow to first and goal. The drive stopped three plays later and Montes tried a 24-yard field goal that sailed wide. Bartow led 14-0 with 4:10 to go in the first quarter.
Auburndale next had an offensive drive that took them to the 1-yard line when the quarter ended. It tried for the touchdown, but back to back false start penalties brought a change of strategy. Deion Young kicked a 27-yard field goal to put Auburndale on the board after a scoreless first quarter.
On the next set of downs, Leverett found Tre Jordan streaking across the middle and delivered for a catch and run of 72 yards. Montes put his third XP through the uprights. Bartow’s lead expanded to 21-3 with 11:39 to play in the half.
After an exchange of possessions, Bartow’s Devon McCoy took it from
23 yards and with a Montes’ extra point, it was 28-3.
Bartow scored one more time in the first half when Leverett saw a wide open McCoy and gained 41 yards on the pass for the touchdown. The extra point was good it made the score 35-3.
The second half featured the teams punting back and forth three times. But on the Auburndale’s third possession, a pass to Cooper set up a fourth down on which Bartow played it out. Cooper charged to the six. After a great defensive play by Devin Hogan set Auburndale back. Good coverage in the secondary forced quarterback Tyler Wilkerson to scramble and he made
the most of the opportunity with a
10-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked and the score stood 35-9 with 2:31 to play in the third quarter.
On the first play of the final quarter, Troy Jones came on a jet sweep, caught and stopped at the one. A Bartow false start backed up the visitors, setting up shop at the 6. Cruz carried the distance to tack on more for the scoreboard. Montes added his sixth extracting as the home fans started streaming from the stands. Bartow led 42-9 with 10:59 to go.
Auburndale was inspired and hard hitting defense forced yet another fumble, the third turnover recorded for Aburndale. A Hound penalty was declined after the play resulted in a loss. The quarterback scampered for 19 to the 4. Cooper tried to drive it home, coming up short with under two minutes to play. An incomplete pass forced third down and Cooper got the job done with a minute to play. Cooper bowled over a Bartow defender to add two more to the total. The score moved to 42-17.
Bartow ran out the clock to claim the 42-17 win, moving to 1-0. Bartow will stay on the road to meet Lake Gibson next week. Game time is 7 p.m.