This is Sparta...sike! Trojans outlast South Caldwell, 34-24, with collective help in the backfield

Trojans’ Malik Kennedy (2) was a key part of the collective rushing effort in the 34-24 road victory against the Spartans on Friday night. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Heading into enemy territory is never easy, but the Trojans (3-0) were able to overcome the odds and come out unscathed in a 34-24 victory on Friday, September 6.

The running game has been an important factor in Bandys’ success early on this season and that would be an element heavily relied upon against the Spartans (2-1).

The likes of Isaiah Gilchrist, Hunter Jones, Malik Kennedy, Chris Culliver, Josh Williams, Christian Sigmon and Parker DeHart were and have been solid contributors on the ground.

It was a tight contest in the first half as the Trojans took a 13-8 lead into halftime.

Quarterback, Jackson Spicer put Bandys on the board first with a 1-yard push into the end zone and a Jesse Pope PAT to lead, 7-0, with 5:42 left in the first quarter.

The Spartans didn’t waste any time following the touchdown as it drove downfield to score one of its own on a quarterback keeper as Avery Raynor got in on a 5-yarder. The coaching staff decided to go for two and a successful run by C.J Crawford put the home team up 8-7 with 1:49 left in the quarter.

Before the quarter would be complete, Sigmon said ‘hold my Gatorade’ en route to a 12-yard touchdown to put his Trojans up, 13-8, with 35 seconds left.

Both sides were bogged down in the second quarter and were held scoreless.

Coming out of the break though, Bandys picked up where it left off in the first quarter as it scored twice more in the backfield -- the first on a 12-yarder by Kennedy and the second by Quenten Maddox on a 3-yarder with 6:16 left in the third -- to lead 28-8.

Nevertheless, Spartans’ running back Spencer Piercy began to heat up en route to a 26-yard rushing TD with under two minutes in the third quarter. Host-South Caldwell attempted a two-point conversion run but failed, trailing Bandys, 28-14.

In the final period, the Trojans would only score once more on yet another rushing TD -- this time a 13-yard run by Josh Williams. The pass attempt on the two-point conversion failed and Bandys led 34-14 with 8:28 left in the contest.

Williams finished as the fourth-leading rusher on the team with 51 yards on eight carries while Culliver, Jones and Gilchrist led the way.

Gilchrist earned top honors in the backfield with 77 yards on 17 carries. Jones obtained 57 yards on six carries while Culliver finished with 56 yards on four carries and one rushing TD.

The Trojans outlasted the Spartans even though Piercy had the spark to keep the game within reach.

Piercy scored once more in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard carry with about 40 seconds left in play. Raynor connected with Piercy on a two-point conversion pass attempt to end the game down 10.

Prior to that final South Caldwell drive, Bandys quarterback, Parker DeHart failed to get out of his own end zone resulting in a safety with 1:10 left.

In terms of Piercy though, he garnered 145 yards on 20 carries with two rushing TDs. Quarterback, Avery Raynor finished with 54 yards on 14 carries.

Next up for Bandys (3-0) is a home match-up with Bunker Hill (0-3) on Friday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m.