Haughton quarterback James David Almond only played the first half, but the Bucs still routed the Southwood Cowboys 52-16 Friday night in the regular season finale.
Almond, a senior, completed 14 of 16 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns. P.J. Douglas caught two TD passes, while Javonte Woodard and Jermichael Bell had one apiece.
Coach Rodney Guin told his team that although the Bucs won fewer games than desired, a 7-3 record was nothing to be embarrassed about and they to need to concentrate on extending their record of five straight first-round playoff wins. Haughton finished 2-3 in District 1-5A.
The Bucs will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
Friday’s game turned south for the Cowboys in a hurry. On the game’s third play, Southwood fumbled at its own 16 and Robert Kennon recovered for Haughton. Four plays later, Jarred Craft scored from five yards out for an early 7-0 lead.
After stopping South-wood, Haughton threatened on its second possession but a rare fumble at the 4:57 mark in the first quarter gave the Cowboys the ball on their own 5. The Cowboys were stifled, barely avoided a safety and were forced to punt. Douglas returned the punt to the Southwood 15. The very next play, Almond found Douglas for a TD and a 14-0 lead.
Almost as quickly, Southwood struck back on a long pass play and two-point conversion to close the gap 14-8 with 35 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
It was as close as the Cowboys would get.
“We played well in the second quarter,” Guin said.
By halftime, Haughton had built a 38-8 lead scoring by air, ground and field goal.
Guin held Almond out the second half, seeing no reason to risk an injury to his starting quarterback with the game well in hand. He chose instead to give playing time to lots of players at different positions, letting them gain experience, and giving seniors who were not starters some playing time.
“Seniors got to play; that was a good thing,” Guin said.
Sophomore William Haines opened at quarterback to start the second half, but only played one series as he broke through on a 55-yard keeper to put the Bucs up 45-8 with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Even with mass substitutions, Haughton continued to score but only gave up one more touchdown late in the third quarter. Junior Bradley Bockhaus led the team on its final scoring drive for a 52-16 score with 8:07 remaining, and a reserve-laden defense had a goal-line stand to end the game.