Keahn Wallace provided the salve J.C. Smith needed for homecoming.
The senior quarterback came off the bench in the fourth quarter to toss a pair of touchdowns passes, including the game-winner to Chris Patterson with 2 seconds left, to lift the Golden Bulls to a 14-10 victory against St. Augustine’s at McGirt Field.
Wallace, who replaced Ardrey Kell graduate Andrew Alexander (7-of-21 passing, 88 yards) with 7:06 left, marched J.C. Smith to touchdowns on his only possessions, twice rallying the Golden Bulls from deficits.
“It felt good to actually be out there after having back spasms last week and couldn’t even play” in a 35-34 loss at Shaw, said Wallace, who completed 4-of-5 passes for 98 yards. “And to come back at a time like this, and they put the game on my hand; that’s all I wanted.”
J.C. Smith (2-7, 1-5) rode the hot hand at the right time. Wallace took the Golden Bulls on an eight-play, 65-yard drive that closed with an 8-yard pass to Fred Scott with 3:30 left. The play started with Wallace calmly scooping up an errant snap and firing a pass to Scott, who scrambled back to the ball after falling in the end zone. Damion Miles set up the drive with an interception.
“I can’t be more proud of my guys,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Aycock said. They haven’t given up. They’ve gone through some things that have really brought us closer together as a team and as a family. This win helps us. It’s always good to get a homecoming win. We just made plays at the right time.”
St. Augustine’s (2-7, 2-4 CIAA) rallied with an 8-yard strike from Cyril Davis to Claytin Lewis with 32 seconds left for a 10-7 advantage, but the Golden Bulls had one last answer. Roderick Carter’s 32-yard kick return to the J.C. Smith 44 set the stage for Wallace’s 29-yard pass to Terrell Hutchinson (2 catches for 69 yards), followed by a 27-yarder to Patterson (3 catches, 68 yards) in the end zone, in which he leaped over a St. Augustine’s defender to make a two-handed grab.
“I knew they were going to blitz and they were going to have one-on-one on the outside and they weren’t going to let us go down the middle of the field,” Wallace said. “And Chris Patterson over anybody, I’ll take any day.”
St. Augustine’s grabbed a 3-0 lead at the break on Michael Lima’s 25-yard field goal in the second quarter while the Golden Bulls had a pair of scoring opportunities stall in Falcons’ territory, including a missed field goal. J.C. Smith’s defense, however, managed to hold St. Augustine’s on a pair of fourth-down tries in Golden Bulls territory to stay within range.
“We try to get better day by day, but we didn’t take care of business on offense, defense or special teams,” Falcons interim coach Michael Morand said. “We could’ve put these guys away early in the ball game but we didn’t get it done.”