Upson Lee Knights 29, Baldwin Braves 21
Quay Reviere: 33 carries, 235 yards, 4 TD
Wyquavious Battle: 8 carries, 58 yards
Markevious Robinson: 8 carries, 53 yards
Kalen Puckett: 13 carries, 20 yards
O’Qualon Harris: 2 carries, 10 yards
Kalen Puckett: 3 comp, 6 attempts, 18 yards, 1 INT
Wyquavious Battle: 2 rec, 11 yards
Damian Leonard: 1 rec, 7 yards
1st Downs- UL 22, BHS 13
Rushes- UL 64, BHS 26
Rushing Yards- UL 375, BHS 101
Pass Attempts- UL 6, BHS 24
Pass Comp- UL 3, BHS 12
Passing Yards- UL 18, BHS 184
Total Offense- UL 393, BHS 285
Punts- UL 2, BHS 5
Punting Yards- UL 65, BHS 122
Punt Avg- UL 32.5, BHS 24.4
Penalties- UL 5, BHS 12
Penalty Yards- UL 40, BHS 100
3rd Downs- UL 13, BHS 12
3rd Down Conv- UL 5, BHS 5
4th Down- UL 5, BHS 2
4th Downs Conv- UL 4, BHS 2
Total TD- UL 4, BHS 3
Score- UL 29, BHS 21
The undefeated Upson Lee Knights entered Friday night’s region opener against Baldwin riding a three-game winning streak, and averaging nearly 40 points per game.
Baldwin, who entered the game with a 3-1 record, was the first opponent this season with a winning record to face the Knights. At the final whistle, Upson Lee’s Quay Reviere had run for a career high 235 yards and four touchdowns, as the Knights improved to 4-0, 1-0 in region play, with a 29-21 victory.
“Every region game is a big game,” said UL Head Coach Tommy Parks. “Up until last season Baldwin has had our number, so getting a victory against them is a step in the right direction for the Knights. We just want to continue to get better each game. Tonight was a team effort, and we got better as a team.”
As was the case in their last victory against Northside-Columbus, Rich Stewart got the Knights on the board first with a field goal. The junior booted a 28-yard field goal, and with 7:03 left in the first quarter, as Upson Lee led 3-0.
In the second quarter, the Knights started to get their running game going. Knights senior running back Quay Reviere capped off a nine-play, 35-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. However, Stewart’s PAT sailed wide right, giving Upson Lee a 9-0 lead with 9:55 still left in the first half.
The Knights defense held the Braves in check for 22 minutes in the first half. After forcing a couple of Braves punts, Upson Lee mounted an 11-play, 85-yard drive, capped off by a Reviere 29-yard touchdown run. The Knights went for a two-point conversion, but the pass failed, and UL held a 15-0 lead.
With 1:44 left in the half, the Knights kicked off with their usual pooch kick, but Malik Clark of Baldwin fielded the ball, slipped a couple of tackles, and jetted for a 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The PAT was good, and Upson Lee’s lead was cut to 15-7.
“We were schemed perfect on the kickoff,” said Parks. “Unfortunately, we did not execute and tackle. We have to do a better job of tackling on our kickoffs.”
Upson Lee took over on their own 30-yard line, but quarterback Kalen Puckett gave the ball right back to the Braves, throwing his first interception of the season.
The Knights defense went to work with just over a minute in the half remaining. The Knights forced the Braves into a fourth down and long with just seconds remaining. The Braves heaved up a pass into the end zone from 27 yards out. A Braves receiver tipped the ball, and the ball fell into the arms of another Braves receiver for a touchdown as time expired. The Braves’ PAT failed, and the Knights took a 15-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Baldwin took the kickoff at the start of the second half, but the Knights’ David Marshall came out like a man possessed on defense, racking up three tackles, two for a loss, on three straight plays. Upson Lee forced Baldwin to punt, and Upson Lee took over on their own 34 yard line.
Upson Lee then went on a time consuming drive with their running game. Reveire scored his third touchdown of the game on a three-yard run, capping off an eight-play, 64-yard drive. Stewart’s PAT was true, and Upson Lee led 22-13.
As the fourth quarter started, both the Braves and Knights traded fumbles. However, only the Knights would capitalize on their recovery. Once again it was Reviere scoring on a three-yard run, capping off an 8-play, 59-yard drive. Stewart’s kick was good, and Upson Lee led 29-13. On the ensuing kickoff, Upson Lee surprised the Braves with an onside kick, and UL senior Erik Foster recovered. Unfortunately the Knights were unable to capitalize on the play, and punted back to Baldwin.
Upson Lee’s defense continued to control the pace of the game, and stifle the Braves in the fourth quarter. Trailing 29-13 late in the game, the Braves took over on offense on their own 23-yard line. Upson Lee’s defense played safely in a prevent scheme. Baldwin was able to complete some passes and eventually scored on a three-yard run, but with only 43 seconds remaining in the game. The Braves converted the two point conversion, and trailed 29-21.
The Braves then went for a onside kick, but UL quarterback Kalen Puckett secured the ball and UL’s offense came onto the field to run out the clock, sealing the 29-21 victory.
Upson Lee will now turn their focus to the West Laurens Blue Raiders (4-1). West Laurens defeated the previously unbeaten Howard Huskies by a 21-14 score last Friday. Last season West Laurens defeated Upson Lee 28-24 and went on to win the Region 2 Championship. Upson Lee and West Laurens will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. in Dexter on Friday night.
Wes McCard can be contacted at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.