By HARRISON HAMLET
(BASSETT, Va.) – Bassett head football coach Brandon Johnson was not discouraged after two road losses to open the season. He said he saw the potential in his team and was excited to play a home game on Friday night against William Byrd.
His Bengals backed up that sentiment, scoring on the opening drive of the game on the way to a 23-12 win.
“We had a great week of practice offensively and we knew if we won the toss we wanted the ball,” Johnson said. “To get us jump-started our offense needed to be on the field first. We got the ball and on the third play of the game, we hit a deep pass for a touchdown.”
An unusual sequence in the second quarter gave the Bengals a 21-0 lead.
After scoring to make it 14-0, Bassett benefited from three personal foul penalties by the Terriers. This gave the Bengals a kickoff from their opponent’s 20 yard-line.
“I kidded with our kicker all week about getting a touchback,” Johnson said with a smile. “After those penalties, he looked at me and told me ‘Coach, I can get a touchback from here.’ Instead, I asked him to place an onside-kick, and we recovered it.”
Two plays after the onside recovery, Kevon Smith found the endzone to give Bassett a 21-0 lead, all the margin they needed to secure their first win of the season.
With the senior, Smith, driving the ball on the ground and freshman quarterback Jaricous Hairston adding an air element to the offense, it was up to the defense to secure the win. Johnson said the Bengals’ defense did just that.
“We played fast, assignment football. They had one real drive in the third quarter and they ran it down our throat a little bit. They spread us out and ran straight at us,” Johnson said. “We adjusted to it and they didn’t get anything else the rest of the game. We played smart and when things did get bad, we stepped up and played tough football.”
After two long road trips to open the season, Johnson noted that playing at home was just the medicine the doctor ordered for his young team.
“It was huge for us to play at home. We’ve been going on the road for a month,” Johnson said. “Having the kids at school and doing pre-game stuff at home brought a new level of focus. It showed our guys what was needed for four quarters.”
Bassett (1-2) will be looking to climb to .500 on the season when they host Dan River (2-1) for Homecoming on September 20.
The Wildcats have earned victories two consecutive seasons against the Bengals, something Johnson said he and his staff are looking to change in 2019.
“They’ve beaten us the last two years. This year, we’re in charge of our own story,” Johnson said. “Chapter four is next week let’s make chapter four as great as it can be. I’m confident it will be a good game for us.”
Bassett 23, William Byrd 12
BHS – 7 14 0 2 – 23
WB – 0 6 6 0 – 12