Every day for the past two years, kicker Chase Gabriel and the special teams practiced running a fake field goal. Friday night, the senior finally got his number called.
Not only was the fake a success, but it also eliminated any momentum Bradwell had and capped off one memorable night for the Red Terrors.
Glynn Academy finished the regular season Friday night with a dominating 44-14 win over Bradwell Institute, clinching the No. 2 seed out of Region 2-6A for the Class 6A state playoffs.
The Red Terrors dominated throughout the game, amassing 344 yards on the ground, 77 through the air and 420 total offensive yards.
Starting quarterback TJ Lewis spread the field out against the Tigers as he went 3-of-6 for 76 yards. He also had 14 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Lewis wasn’t the only Terror to shine as it seemed like each playmaker got his moment. Senior running back Nolan Grant collected 46 yards on six carries. Freshman athlete Jayden Drayton had himself a day toting the rock 12 times for 106 yards.
Caden Hutchinson also had a big night as he carried the ball 10 times for 78 yards and one score.
From the start, Glynn Academy put its foot on the throttle and didn’t let up until there was no time left.
“That’s what we really want to do,” said Glynn Academy coach Rocky Hidalgo. “We’re a spread option attack. We put the ball in the hands of a lot of guys, we feel like we have kids who are pretty good weapons and they went out and made some plays.”
Four different Glynn players got into the end zone Friday night, but it was Gabriel’s second-quarter performance that impressed everyone.
Not only did he score 19 of the Terrors’ 37 first-half points; he also made two 52-yard field goals and a 46-yarder to make it 30-0 with 3:27 left to go in the half.
Kickers are often taken for granted, but not on this team. Gabriel proved that he is a force and a deadly weapon for Glynn. In having the confidence to kick not one, but two 50-plus yard field goals, he showed the coaches he has no fear, and they can trust him in crucial situations moving forward with the rest of the season.
“You feel good about coming out there and taking a shot at a 50, 51, 52 yarder,” Hidalgo said. “He’s a 50-50 kid from that range, he really is. He might be better than when its all said and done. He’s a great kid and great kicker, and I’m glad he’s ours.”
Gabriel wouldn’t take the credit after the game. Instead, he gave all the praise to the guys up front.
“I can’t do that without the front line blocking,” Gabriel said. “It was a great snap and a great hold by my holder Bennett Colbert and snapper D.C. Pierce. The whole entire front, I couldn’t do it without them.”
Glynn’s defense allowed the Tigers just 57 yards on the ground in the first half and forced a fumble that eventually set up Gabriel’s final field goal.
The defense found a way to stop the Tigers and got the offense back on the field with around a 1:28 to go before halftime.
After a big 19-yard catch by Hutchinson, Lewis threw a 20-yard pass to Paul Hegeman, then carried it himself five more yards, which set up first-and-goal with one second on the clock.
Glynn lined up in a field goal and snapped the ball. Instead of kicking it, Gabriel hooked around the holder, who tossed it over his head back to Gabriel. The senior ran it in for a touchdown.
The next play, Gabriel lined up and kicked the extra point like it was no big deal. Any time he stepped up to kick a ball or do anything, it was like he had ice in his veins.
“That was coach Rock’s call, and I was very excited to get to do that,” Gabriel said. “We’ve worked on it in practice for at least two years now. I was excited I got to do it and glad it worked out.”
That touchdown forced the second half to be a running clock, which is what Hidalgo aimed for when he made that call. Hidalgo said that it was Gabriel’s senior night, and he wanted to give him a shot.
“We got down there, and it was 30-0, I mean the difference between 30-0 and 33-0 isn’t a big deal,” Hidalgo said. “We wanted to get to the running clock, and we felt like we had it. It’s his senior night. We practiced it every day for two years, and we gave him the chance to run it and make something with it.”
Bradwell finally got on the board late in the third quarter off a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 37-7 with 5:56 to go. The Tigers got shut down by Glynn’s defense most of the night but got a lot of help as well as the Terrors had 13 flags for 90 yards.
Glynn answered with a score of its own as Jajuan Floyd scored the Terrors final points of the game on a 14-yard sweep. That score made it 44-7 with 6:12 to go in the game.
The Tigers scored their final touchdown of the game with a minute left to play. Starting quarterback for Bradwell, Dariuse Cooper hit Tristian Pullins for a 40-yard touchdown.
Glynn Academy did exactly what it needed to do this week to secure its seed and send its seniors out in the right way.
The Terrors finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak.
“Its a really impressive group of kids. When you sit and talk to them, they’re guys who can have conversations with you. They’re very mature about what they do and very committed to what we do. There’s not a whole lot of them, but I wouldn’t trade them for any group in the world.
With this win, Glynn clinched home advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Terrors will take on Morrow, the No. 3 seed out of Region 4-6A three seed, next Friday at 7:30 p.m.