by Beech High School, 2018-11-13T06:25:37.000-08:00November 13 2018, at 06:25 AM PST
Story by Kyle Hancock
FRANKLIN — Despite gaining an early lead, the Page Patriots struggled to complete offensive drives, throwing interceptions and losing fumbles as the Beech Buccaneers edged the Patriots 21-14 to advance to the third round of the TSSAA Class 5A playoffs.
Cade Walker led the Patriots offense, connecting frequently with Michael Burdick and Quincy Brock-Compton. While the first Page drive ended short, the second drive saw Burdick and Compton work down field from Beech’s 39-yd line with Compton getting Page on the board with an 8-yard carry for the touchdown at 5:46.
The Bucs, switching throughout the night between Caden Cutrell and Aaron Foxx at quarterback, spent the remaining five minutes working up field from their own 20-yard line with Ja’Sean Parks and Foxx leading the way. Four seconds into the second quarter, Foxx easily drove up the middle for a 13-yard carry to tie the game 7-7.
“He’s been great the last couple of weeks,” Beech coach Anthony Crabtree said. “He’s been a man on a mission. He’s ran the ball extremely hard and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s having a great year.”
Page’s Til Chesire almost broke away from the pack for a clear run to the end zone, instead ended up getting tackled at the Beech 49-yd line. The Bucs forced a Patriots punt, and had to punt on their own drive.
Walker, having plenty of options to choose from, lead the Patriots up field again to the Beech 33-yard line. After the snap, Walker zoned in on Burdick, who was in the end zone and made the pass, only for it to be intercepted by Brian Colon.
With two minutes remaining, Cuttrell and Foxx continued to switch back and forth on quarterback, keeping Page guessing last minute who would be under center. Cuttrell found Parks all alone at the Beech 37-yard line and Parks put on an impressive 55-yard dash to give Beech first-and-goal with 22 seconds left in the half.
With the clocking ticking down, Cuttrell kept the ball to himself and ran for the end zone. Tackled at the 3-yard line, the ball slipped from Cuttrell’s hands and appeared to hit the end zone in the fall.
The refs conferred and didn’t rule it a fumble or touchback, and on the next play, Foxx picked up his second touchdown of the night on a 3-yard carry, giving Beech a 14-6 lead at halftime.
“Our offensive line came out hard.” Foxx said. “We didn’t know what they were going to give us, but we just stuck with it. We made some adjustments, but I give it all to my offensive linesmen.”
In the second half, Beech continued flip flopping Cuttrell and Foxx, but Page finally answered back when Compton scored on a 19-yard carry to tie things at 14-14.
As the quarter progressed, Beech slowly grabbed the upper hand. Continuous runs up the middle started gaining more yardage with the Page defenders missing tackles.
Later in the half, Page fumbled giving Beech another scoring opportunity. Page halted the Beech momentum as Page’s Simon Simmonds hauled in an interception.
Right out of the gate, Walker fumbled, recovered by Beech’s Jackson Dolan. This set up an 81-yd touchdown run on the next play from Parks, but a holding penalty called it back.
Beech kept chipping away and Foxx tallied his third touchdown of the night on a 25-yd carry with 8:05 remaining.
Page drove down the field, but with a minute remaining, Walker’s pass to an open receiver was intercepted again at the end zone, allowing Beech to come away with a 21-14 win and advance to the third round of the playoffs.
“Our guys kept fighting and kept fighting,” Crabtree said. “Found a way to make a couple plays and ultimately that was the difference in the game. We came with a couple of turnovers from our defense and that was the difference for us this game.”
Beech will travel to Overton HS to take on Hillsboro next Friday night the Class 5A quarterfinals.