Initially, it appeared that the season would be a bust for Glenn. But now, the Bobcats have created a big buzz in junior varsity football.
Glenn stumbled out of the gates with consecutive losses to Reagan, Reynolds and West Forsyth. In recent weeks, however, it’s been a vastly different story.
The Bobcats whipped Northwest Guilford (23-16) to end the Vikings 41-game win streak dating back to 2008. They followed up with a late-game comeback win over Carver (47-44) when Jordan Jarell tossed a 33-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Chris Pinkos with 15 seconds left in the game. A week ago, Glenn discovered its offensive groove in a 42-28 victory over Parkland.
“We had a tough non-conference schedule that has gotten us to this point,” said Coach Gary Payne, whose team is now 3-3. “All during that rough stretch, our kids never quit. They’ve learned how to bounce back from adversity.”
Against Parkland, Glenn looked like a team on the verge of collapse early in the fourth quarter. Mustangs quarterback JeJuan Davis scrambled 29 yards for a touchdown to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 27-20.
The Bobcats answered swiftly as Naushe Simington took the ensuing kickoff and ran it back 80 yards for a touchdown. Three minutes later, back-up running back Kennard Harden took a swing pass from Jarrell and sped 62 yards for another score (his second of the game) to push Glenn’s lead to 42-20.
Glenn’s explosiveness is somewhat surprising considering that versatile running back D.J. Miller didn’t play at all in the second half due to an ankle injury.
“I was sorry to see that DJ couldn’t come back for the second half,” said Simington, who is Miller’s backfield partner. “As a leader, I knew I had to step up (with D.J. out). I give all the credit to my front line. I knew that with my speed, and with them blocking like they can, that I’d be able to get away (to score).”
Payne was pleased with his team’s ability to compensate for the loss of Miller. Harden started out the season on offense, but was later moved to defense. When Miller went down, Payne called on Harden to help pick up the slack.
“Our offense did a very good job,” he said. “Naushe stepped in and so did Kennard. We needed Kennard in the backfield. He came in and didn’t miss a beat.”
Defensively, the Bobcats got superb play on the goal line to squash four Parkland scoring drives. Jalin McCall had a TD-saving tackle on fourth and a goal in the first quarter. Later on, McCall recovered a Parkland fumble inside Glenn’s 10-yard line to end another scoring threat.
In the closing minutes of the second quarter, Zach Day sacked Parkland’s Davis on fourth down inside the Bobcats’ 15-yard line. Day also recovered a fumble to derail another Parkland scoring attempt in the third quarter.
“We’re very aggressive and sometimes, we give up the big play because of that,” Payne explained. “They bend, but they do not break.”
For Parkland, Jaquan Fair caught a 74-yard scoring pass from Davis and added a 36-yard touchdown run. Ronald Santiago Jr. closed out the Mustangs scoring with a nine-yard touchdown run in the waning moments of the contest.