JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Caden Fordham is way too multi-dimension to be just a "touchdown vulture", though the Bolles junior grinned and laughed when he heard the fantasy football term Friday night.
Yes, Fordham, a defensive back who shifts to Wildcat quarterback for the Bulldogs, did get four carries — all inside the 10 — and three touchdowns. But Fordham also had a back-breaking interception and return to set up teammate Kenny Samuels for the game's last score as host Bolles ground down St. Augustine 28-7 in the first regular-season meeting between the teams in 41 years.
A typical "touchdown vulture" is a player, usually in the NFL, who specializes in short-yardage runs, taking scores away from players who have more total yards. Fordham did that, scoring on carries of 1, 3 and 7 yards.
"I was a little bit (of a touchdown vulture) in short downs and distances," Fordham said. "We definitely have some good players on the team, and we get it evenly distributed. Short downs with certain people is how we maintain the offense."
The balance was evident. The Bulldogs rushed for 227 yards on 43 carries, even after losing 10 yards by taking knees in the waning moments. Bolles (2-1) had four players with at least 28 rushing yards, including 72 apiece from Samuels and co-rushing leader Jeremiah Johnson, a quarterback who played only in the second half.
Still, St. Augustine (2-1) tied the game at 7 at the start of the second half on Tyreaun Baxter's 7-yard scoring run. Johnson led the Bulldogs on a pair of drives, both ending with Fordham scores, to extend the lead to 21-7.
The Yellow Jackets' last gasp came midway through the final quarter. Fordham picked off a pass and raced 55 yards to the St. Augustine 20 but, in a twist, did not find the end zone. Two plays later, however, Samuels did find it from 15 yards out, effectively ending the contest.
"It helped us, obviously. It was a huge change of momentum for the team," Fordham said. "It helped the offense score and finished off the game for us."
St. Augustine coach Brian Braddock rued that interception and a fumble in Yellow Jackets territory that set up Bolles' third score. St. Augustine also had difficulty moving the ball in the first half, with only two first downs, including one off a Bulldogs penalty.
"We were out-played in every facet of the game," Braddock said. "They had no turnovers. We had two crippling ones. Handed them short fields. They stayed the course. They were physical. They were disciplined. They beat us. We got what we deserved."
If not for a pair of failed fourth-down attempts by Bolles in Yellow Jackets territory, the margin of victory could have been even larger.
St. Augustine entered the contest averaging almost 420 yards a game. But the Yellow Jackets were held to 66 rushing yards on 21 carries to go with 122 passing yards.
Bulldogs coach Matt Toblin, though, gave a good portion of the credit to his offense for St. Augustine's low offensive numbers, as his team controlled the clock for more than 29 minutes of the 48-minute contest.
Bolles had two possessions of 5:39 or longer in the first half, keeping the Yellow Jackets offense off the field. The Bulldogs' offensive line paved the way as 13 of the team's 17 first downs came via the ground game, and Bolles did not even attempt a pass in the second half.
"Being physical up front on both sides of the ball was a huge key to us winning," Toblin said. "But that's mostly about the offense because we only had three drives (in the first half). Usually when you play that well on defense it's because the offense is holding the ball."
Bolles 28, St. Augustine 7
St. Augustine,0, 0, 7, 0 — 7
Bolles, 7, 0, 7, 14 — 28
B – Caden Fordham 3 run (Parsa Pordeli kick)
SA – Tyreaun Baxter 7 run (John Doughty kick)
B – Fordham 7 run (Pordeli kick)
B – Fordham 1 run (Pordeli kick)
B – Kenny Samuels 15 run (Pordeli kick)
Category: SA; B
First downs: 13; 17
Rushes-yards: 21-66; 43-227
Passing: 122; 37
Comp-Att-Int: 14-25-1; 7-10-0
Fumbles-lost: 2-2; 1-0
Penalties-Yards: 6-38; 11-80
RUSHING — SA: Justus Johnson 12-32, Sammy Edwards 4-19, Baxter 4-16, Sean Harvey 1-(-1). B: Jeremiah Johnson 7-72, Samuels 13-72, Landen Frazier 7-36, Ben Netting 5-28, Kade Frew 5-17, Fordham 4-12, Team 2-(-10).
PASSING — SA: Edwards 13-24-1-117, Trevon Dirden 1-1-0-5. B: Netting 7-10-0-37.
RECEIVING — SA: Dequan Stanley 5-39, Jose Blanco 3-38, Cody Cooper 2-19, Jaden McDowell 2-14, Baxter 1-7, Johnson 1-5. B: Davis Ellis 5-21, Justin Cayenne 1-12, Gunner Boree 1-4.