Bowling Green comes up short to Park Place Christian Academy

Published 12:42 pm Thursday, August 24, 2017

Struggles in the red zone, turnovers and big plays hurt Bowling Green in a 27-14 loss to park Place Christian Academy in the season opener that took place at home Friday.
“We gave up big plays, but I knew conditioning was going to be a problem,” Bowling Green coach David Currier said. “Low numbers. Not only that, but we had a couple of kids hurt. We already have low numbers and depth problems, but we had three kids that would have helped us immensely to have them.
“Too many turnovers, too many fumbles, but I’m proud of them. We kept playing. We could’ve quit at times, so I see some good things that we can play defense, hit people and move the football. But again, they just had a little more depth than we do.”
The three injured players were George Nobles, John Ashton Dykes and Cade Morere. Currier said he expects all three of them back for this week’s road game against Ben’s Ford.
Bowling Green reached the redzone three times and twice in its first two drives. Park Place won the toss and the defense forced a punt. The Buccaneers took over at their 14 and drove to the 11, but a sack for an 8-yard loss on fourth-and-goal ended the drive.
Park Place took over at its 19 and scored on the first play when Nic Butts — who ran for 166 yards, had 61 receiving and tallied two rushing touchdowns and a receiving score — broke loose in the open field and went the distance. Dylan Jones nailed the extra point and Park Place led 7-0 with 2:04 left in the first quarter.
The Bucs returned the kickoff to the 19 and drove to the Crusaders’ 15, but the Bucs fumbled on third-and-10. Josh Jones recovered for Park Place, ending a scoring opportunity for the Bucs.
It was the first of the game’s 10 turnovers. Each team turned the ball over five times.
The Crusaders took possession at their 21, but had an errant snap on first down. Park Place recovered the loose ball at its 2. The Crusaders punted from their own end zone and the ball went out of bounds at their 27.
On first down, Bowling Green went to the air and got on the board when Cameron Bell connected with Grady Ball, who made the catch, and scored the touchdown to bring the Bucs to within one. The conversion failed and it was a 7-6 contest with 9:17 left in the first half.
It stayed that way until the half’s final play. Park Place took possession at its 19. Facing fourth-and-3 from Bowling Green’s 34, Landon Clark completed a pass to Tyler Martins for 12 yards. Martins beat the clock, getting out of bounds at the 22 just before the clock expired. One second was put back on the clock, leaving time for one last play and Park Place scored when Clark connected with Butts for a 22-yard touchdown. Jones was successful on the extra point and Park Place took a 14-6 lead to halftime.
The Bucs punted on the opening drive of the second half, but Park Place fumbled on third down from its 23 and Bowling Green’s Devin Anthony recovered it at the 25. The Bucs lost 2 yards on first down, but Ball got in the open field on second down and scored to tie the game at 14-14, following C.J. Smith’s run for the two-point conversion with 8:25 on the clock.
Park Place broke the tie about halfway through the fourth quarter when Eli Sykes found Martins on a 20-yard touchdown pass to cap off a 65-yard drive. The extra point was wide right.
Bowling Green attempted to punt on the ensuing drive, but a slow snap led to the punter getting tackled at the 31. Five plays later, Butts scored on a 17-yard run to essentially put the game out of reach at 27-14 with 2:39 to go. Bowling Green drove to the 30 and Clark intercepted a pass on the game’s final play, ending the 27-14 contest.
Bell finished with 93 rushing yards and 74 through the air with a passing and rushing touchdown. Ball had 57 yards on the ground and a touchdown reception.
Sykes threw for 98 yards and a touchdown for the Crusaders.
Bowling Green will be back in action Friday, when the Buccaneers travel to face Ben’s Ford.