Bucs demolish Hillsboro; advance
SHACKLE ISLAND – Beech High School moves on to the quarterfinal round in the TSSAA Class 5A Playoffs following Friday night’s 36-0 victory over Region 6-5A foe Hillsboro. The Bucs (9-1) scored 28 points in the second half as Adrian Johnson led the team with three total touchdowns.
Defensively the Bucs were even more impressive, holding an offense averaging 48 points-per-game over their last five games scoreless. “Bill Alexander (Defensive Coordinator) is excellent at what he does,” Beech coach Anthony Crabtree said. “He puts in an unbelievable amount of time trying to find a way to put our guys in the right position. Our entire defensive staff put a great game plan together, and our guys did what we asked them to do. Keeping that offense out of the end zone is big.”
Offensively the game plan was to limit the number of possessions by the Burros and make them have long sustained drives. The Bucs did just that as Beech limited Hillsboro to only four first-half possessions and five second-half possessions. Three of the four first half possessions ended in a turnover on downs, and the other ended with a Jalen Macon punt. The boys in navy blue created constant pressure all night long, sacking Macon five times.
“Our defensive line played well, but they have played well most of the year,” Crabtree said. “We struggled a little bit in the first game with some young guys, but at this point, those guys aren’t young anymore, so we expect more out of them.”
On the Bucs third possession in the first half, Beech capped off a 7-play, 89-yard drive when Patrick Hill busted through the gut for a three-yard touchdown run. Following back-to-back penalties on the Burros defense, Beech elected to go for two from the one-yard line. Up-and-over the pile, senior Adrian Johnson put the Bucs up 8-0 with 9:19 left in the first half.
Three of the five second-half possessions for the Burros ended with a Buccaneer sack, while the other two ended on a fake punt and an incomplete pass on fourth down. Beech had zero problems scoring on the flip side, finding the end zone on all three second-half possessions. “We wanted to keep the ball away from them on offense in the second half, and we had some success with that; our kids did a great job with the game plan tonight,” Crabtree said.
Following a fourth-down sack on defense, the Beech offense marched right down the field, 60 yards, before Adrian Johnson scored his first touchdown of the night for the 15-0 advantage. Facing 3rd-and-12 from the 22 with 4:08 left in the third quarter, Crabtree reached to the back page of the playbook and found a half-back pass for the Bucs’ next touchdown.
Getting the ball from quarterback Xaviere Jones, Adrian Johnson started right then turned to find a wide-open Jones on the field’s left side. Jones made one defender miss, and then outran the other as the Bucs went up three scores. Another turnover-on-downs from the Burros gave Beech good field position at the 31 to start the fourth quarter, then a few plays later, Johnson cashed in for six from three yards out for the 29-0 lead.
Tysean Jefferson capped off his 163-yard performance with the nail-in-the-coffin touchdown three yards out with only 6:49 remaining in the game and the 36-0 lead. Beech welcomes Summit to Shackle Island Friday night for the Class 5A quarterfinal round. It will be the third straight playoff game for the Bucs at home. “Years like these are special,” Crabtree said. “These years don’t come around every year. This is a special year for our team.”
The Bucs and Spartans are scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff on November 20.