09-15 GMC Prep vs. Riverside #5.JPG

The Bulldogs captured the Military Bowl title Friday night at home.

Steven Cary
The Union-Recorder

Georgia Military College Prep School solidified itself as the top military football team in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) on Friday night, Sept. 14, as the Bulldogs emerged with a 24-0 victory at home over Riverside Military Academy in the Military Bowl.

After a sloppy first half of play, the Bulldogs took advantage of some key plays in the second half to pull away from the Eagles and win.

“We knew what they were trying to take away from us, and we just needed to go in and tweak some things to make sure we knew what we wanted to do based on what they were trying to take away,” Brad Owens, head coach, said. “We had put in a few plays this week, expecting them to take away the jet sweep from us, and those were working well for us. Our little quarterback keep up the middle, we changed a few blocking schemes in the second half and that helped us get a few first downs.”

Going into the locker room, GMC Prep had a 7-0 lead, but after adjustments by Owens and his staff, the Bulldogs found success both on the ground and in the air.

“I felt like we could throw the ball a little bit,” Owens said. “We were getting some protection and we were getting some guys open; we just missed a few of them in the first half.”

Rekarche Griffin connected twice with Manquez Warthen for touchdowns, once in the second quarter and again in the third, while Taylor Payne rushed for a score of his own also in the third quarter.

See video footage from the game below. 

Tyler Pennington also capitalized on a late game field goal attempt, as he split the uprights from 42 yards out in the fourth quarter.

Offensively, the GMC Prep was plagued by penalties in the first half, but Owens credits that to the aggressiveness his team played with on Friday night.

“We made a lot of mistakes, and there were a lot of calls that were questionable. I think it was us playing aggressive to a large degree,” he said. “We were getting penalties for holding and getting penalties for false starts, so we were trying to be aggressive. We weren’t sitting back on our heels, and when that happens, I don’t always agree with them, of course.”

Defensively, Malik Bradley came away with an interception against Riverside, while the Bulldogs recovered several fumbles to help in the big win.

Going into the game, Owens knew it would be a tough one but was pleased to see that the conditioning his team has done paid dividends against the Eagles.

“It was a great win for this program, a great night. Our guys came out against an opponent that was huge,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how big they were, and their quarterback looks like a Division I quarterback. So we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I felt like conditioning-wise we started to wear them down.”

After losing key player Colby Lawrence on the first play of the ball game, Owens applauds his team for staying positive and sticking to the game plan to pull out a big win for the GMC Prep program.

“To lose Colby Lawrence on the first play of the game, who’s one of our most pivotal players, could have been devastating to us,” Owens said. “We could have laid down, but we had to keep our heads in the game and realize there are other kids that can play ball, too.”

 

Heading into a tough region schedule in two weeks, the Bulldogs will celebrate the win but not rest on their laurels.

“That was a great win. We can check this off as a goal accomplished, and now we got something else to play for in a couple weeks,” Owens said. “We got a mighty task against Wilkinson County. We’re going to have to see what we got; we’re going to have to check our oil and see what’s going on.”

The GMC Prep squad will be back in action at home Friday, Sept. 28, against Wilkinson County. 

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