It was always going to possibly be the toughest game of the year for the Bowie Jackrabbits, and despite losing their opening district game against state-ranked Brock, they came out of the game with more hope than anything.
Bowie got off to an inspired start, but it did not last as the Eagles outplayed them the rest of the game on their way to a 31-13 win. With the Jackrabbits having been outscored by Brock 115-6 combined the previous two seasons, the deficit does not ring as bad as many expected.
Bowie exploded on their opening possession as running back Ty Harris ran up the middle and down the left sideline for a 60-yard touchdown run. They missed the two-point conversion, but they were up 6-0 against the Eagles.
Brock’s ever effective wishbone offense grinded its way down the field against the Jackrabbits. As the Eagles neared Bowie’s red zone, the Jackrabbit defense held its own and forced a turnover on downs on their own 13-yard line to keep Brock out of the end zone.
It seemed like the picture perfect first quarter for Bowie trying to pull an upset until they fumbled the ball on their own 40-yard line right before the quarter ended. Still, not many people in the area thought the Jackrabbits would have the lead at any point during the game, let alone at the end of a quarter.
The Eagles rumbled down the field a bit at a time, picking up some big plays here and there, but mostly just consistently picking up positive yards to keep the chains moving with runs.
Brock’s Toby Morrison scored from four yards out and with the made extra point, the Eagles led 7-6 early in the second quarter.
Hope was not lost for Bowie. They had moved the ball well enough before their big scoring play, mostly through short passes and direct snap runs to Harris with the defense spread out, to know that if they executed their offense to perfection they could score again to take back the lead.
Unfortunately, the Jackrabbits threw an interception to one of Brock’s lineman, who read the screen pass perfectly and returned into Bowe’s territory. A couple plays later Morrison broke through for his biggest run of the game so far, scoring from 32 yards out to put the Eagles up 14-6.
The Jackrabbits were able to drive into Brock’s territory on their next drive after picking up several first downs. They were stopped on fourth down on the Eagle’s 29 yard line. With the momentum switched, it looked like Brock was going to be able to score once more before the half to make it a two-score game.
Fortunately, Bowie was able to stop Brock’s offense and force them to punt with a little more than a minute left. The Jackrabbits were able to make some big plays to move the ball within scoring distance to the Eagle’s 32 yard line. Just outside field goal range, Bowie chucked the ball up Hail Mary style as the half ended, but no one came down with the ball. The Jackrabbits went into halftime trailing 14-6.
With their last two drives only stalling deep in Brock’s territory and their defense stopping the Eagle’s rushing attack two out of four chances in the first half, Bowie still felt like they had a chance coming out for the second half, especially with the score still being so close.
The Eagles received the ball to start the second and drove the ball inside of the Jackrabbit’s 10-yard line. Bowie’s defense bowed up and forced a fourth and goal and Brock elected to kick a short field goal to make the score 17-6.
The Jackrabbits responded with another successful offensive drive, powered by a big run from Harris deep into the Eagle’s territory. Unfortunately, Bowie’s drive again stalled outside of field goal range as they turned the ball over at Brock’s 25 yard line.
The Eagles did not take long to take full control of the game as Morrison broke free for his longest run of the game for a 62-yard touchdown run to put Brock up 24-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
Things did not get better for Bowie. Their offense went nowhere and was forced to punt, but their defense also forced the Eagles into their first punt of the game. Brock’s punter shanked the punt off the side of his foot and it went much shorter than it was expected and it was outside of the Eagles kick coverage.
The Jackrabbit’s returner made a gamble to try and return it off the bounce as the coverage from Brock was disorganized due to the shank, but fumbled the ball trying to gather it, allowing the Eagles to recover the ball near midfield. The next play saw Morrison score on a 48-yard touchdown run to put Brock up 31-6 with most of the fourth quarter still to play.
For most outside observers, it was worrying to think how much worse the score would get for Bowie now that it seemed everything was going wrong, and it seemed likely the Jackrabbits would submit to the inevitable.
Fortunately, Bowie was not done trying to compete. After both team’s exchanged punts, it was the Eagle’s turn to muff a punt, with the Jackrabbit’s Joey Crawford recovering the fumble deep in Brock’s territory.
Bowie had been trying to take advantage of their two tall outside receivers all night in Jed Castles and Boo Oakley by throwing fades to them all night. Despite some pass interference calls, they had not been too affective until the Jackrabbit’s Payton Price threw one to Oakley from 15 yards out for a touchdown to cut the lead to 31-13.
The defense forced one more turnover on downs deep in their territory for good measure to show they had not given up even late in the game, but there would be no magic comeback for Bowie.
To read the full story, including the full stat sheet, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.