PICKENS — The Blue Flame fell short of victory on their home opener, losing to Pendleton by 10 on Friday night despite a rally late in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs came out hungry, and their quarter back, #12 Gibson Black, was not shy about laying out the deep passes — putting up a fast 13 points in the first quarter including an 80-yard bomb to #4 Delonte Simpson. The PAT was no good.
Pickens’ Adam Thomas returned a kick-off to the 36-yard line but the Blue Flame had to settle for three when a delay of game penalty backed them up another five.
Penalties continued to plague both teams as the half ended with Pendleton (1-0) up 19-3.
Defense was the name of the game in the third quarter, with both teams failing to score. By the fourth, Pickens attempted a late rally and managed to put up 13 points but a final touchdown by the Bulldogs ended up sealing the deal: Pendleton won 26-16.
Offensively, the Blue Flame (0-2) seemed to have one play: Get the ball to Gunner Covey.
Senior Gunner Covey had 16 carries throughout the game for a total of 69 yards and two touchdowns. He was averaging 4.3 yards a carry Friday night, not including a pass reception for an additional 16 yards.
QB Tanner Stegall did his best against the tough Bulldog defense. He went 7 for 14 for a total of 119 yards with zeros in both the touchdown and the interception categories.
On the other side of the ball, the Blue Flame defense had a decent night, managing 31 tackles all together, with six of them coming from Will Reynolds. Cole Seaborn and Tyler Gravely each capped off their night with a sack on the QB.
Phone calls to Pickens Head Coach John Boggs were not returned by deadline.
This week, Pickens hosts Liberty (0-1) in a non-conference game on Friday. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.