Sandhills Titans slip by Gators

Kenji Bowen tackles the Sandhills punter after a bad snap. The play set up the Gators only touchdown. Photos by Hannah Bullock.

The Sandhills Titans converted two fourth down plays into touchdowns to defeat East Columbus 13-6 Thursday evening. The game was moved to Thursday with the expectation of inclement weather on Friday.

East Columbus scored first, taking advantage of a poor Titan snap on a punt to take over on the Sandhills 16. Five plays later Kenji Bowen scored from 10 yards out to give East a 6-0 lead after the extra point run attempt failed. The Titans responded with a 60-yard drive, ending with a 32 yard touchdown pass on fourth down. The kick was good for a 7-6 lead.

Both teams possessed the ball in opposition territory during the remainder of the half , but neither came close to scoring. East Columbus fumbled away the football on the first snap from scrimmage in the second half. The Titans drove to the Gator five-yard line. Facing fourth and goal Sandhills lined up for a field goal attempt. The attempt never took place as the holder took the snap and outraced the Gator defense to the left corner of the end zone. The kick was wide left, leaving Sandhills with a 13-6 advantage.

Fisher Reaves (17) and Armani Gayden (21) bring down a Titan runner.

The Gators best scoring chance of the second half came after its third pick of a Titan pass. East took over on the Titans 34 with under four minutes remaining. A Gator pass attempt on the next play was intercepted. Sandhills was able to move for two first downs and run out the remaining time on the clock.

East Columbus falls to 0-2. The Gators open TRC play at St. Pauls next Friday.

The stadium clock was not operational. The time was kept by an official on the field. In what seemed like an extremely fast contest, just 70 combined plays were run, including 14 incompletions. There were also at least three stoppages of play for injuries. Still the contest that began at 6:30 p.m. was over at 8:22 p.m. The rapidity in which the game was played was fortuitous since the field was bombarded by rain soon after the final whistle.

More details will be available in Monday’s print edition.