It didn’t take long Friday night for the Baker County High School Wildcats to resume their dominance of the Paxon Eagles and stake a claim to the co-lead in the district title race. The Cats scored on their first possession and then cruised to a 36-0 victory.
The Wildcats have had Paxon’s number over the last few years. Last season they shut out the Eagles to set a scoring record of 64-0 (broken in this year’s 73-0 waxing of Duval Charter).
Though Paxon is considerably better than last year’s version, it still was unable to stop BCHS. In the Cats’ opening possession, Falon Lee romped for 20 yards into Paxon territory to the 45-yard line. Corey Lawler, who has been running the ball very well as the Wildcats marched to a 4-1 record, moved the ball to the 3-yard line and on the next play, Mike Boone ran it in for the score. Lawler picked out Boone in the end zone for the two point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Paxon had trouble all night long with long snaps. After the opening possession stalled, the center snapped the ball over the head of the punter, and though he got off a good punt to the Wildcat 32 it was the first of many miscues for the Eagles.
Lee moved the ball into Paxon territory on three successive runs and Lawler found Mike Boone for the touchdown. Boone got an excellent block from lineman Jon Kinney to break him out into the open and from there Boone did the rest as he scored from 45 yards out. The conversion attempt was no good but the Cats were up 14-0 at the end of the first period.The second period saw the Cats capitalize on a second poor snap as the Eagle punter bobbled the ball and the Wildcats rushed in and blocked the punt to give BCHS the ball on the Eagle 7-yard line. Three plays later, Lawler ran it in from 2 yards out and then found Boone in the end zone for the conversion score and a 22-0 lead.
BCHS then got another big break to stop one of the Eagles’ better drives of the night. Hunter Chambers put a big hit on the Eagle ball carrier and forced a fumble. Marquis Williams alertly pounced on the ball to give BCHS possession at the Paxon 19-yard line.
Lee took the ball 11 yards to the Paxon 8-yard line on the first play of the short drive. The Cats had a little trouble of their own, bobbling the ball but recovering the fumble and on the next play, Lawler hit Boone on a fade route for the score. The conversion was no good but BCHS was up 28-0.
The final score came on a 45-yard Corey Lawler scamper for the touchdown. Boone swept around the end for the conversion and the Wildcats got their second shut out in a row against Paxon.
The Wildcats will face a much stiffer test October 12 on the road at Bolles. Last season the Wildcats had a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, only to see the Bulldogs roar back to take a 28-27 win at Memorial Stadium.
Bolles has not been quite as dominant this year as in past years, with a rare 33-28 regular season blemish against Fleming Island.
But there is no doubting the quality Bolles puts on the field. They are defending state champions, having beaten Miami Washington 33-25 at the end of last season.
“It doesn’t matter what film you watch on them and from what year, it just looks like the same thing ... great athletes who do what they are coached to do,” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski. “They are very disciplined and that is what makes them stand out.”