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Raines Falls to Bolles in Regional Final 21-14

Bulldogs Control First Half with 14 Points and Sophomore Tyrone Neal’s 120 Yards Rushing

The game to decide the 2022 Class 2M Regional Championship came down to the contest between two of the most storied football programs in Jacksonville. And what better than for Raines (9-3) and Bolles (9-4) to decide who would go on to the FHSAA Final Four.

It had been six years since the two programs had played each other, and that game was a one-sided 60-20 win by the Bulldogs. On Friday night, on the “San Jose Boulevard” campus, there was high anticipation of another outstanding game between the two powers. Bolles leads the series 10-6 coming into the game.

Taking the opening kickoff, Kyle Gilyard returned the ball 36 yards for the Vikings, giving them excellent field position near midfield. After a fumbled snap on first down and a loss of 9 yards, Raines went three and out.

With the ball at their own 29-yard line on their first drive, the Bulldogs were accessed a personal foul penalty, causing them to also go three and out.

On their second drive of the first quarter, senior quarterback Roman Doles looked to make a play as defensive pressure forced him to throw an interception, and the Bulldogs were back in business at their own 26-yard line. From that point, Bolles used the running of tailback Tyrone Neal on eight straight plays and went 74 yards, as Kavon Miller would take it in from the 2-yard line for the first score of the game. Matt Berry kicked the PAT, and with 2:03 remaining in the quarter, the Bulldogs had a 7-0 lead.

Two drive later, Raines running back Mark Miller hit on an 8-yard run but lost the ball at the Vikings 38-yard line. On the very next play, Neal broke off the right side of the line and went the distance untouched. With another PAT, the Bulldogs had a 14-0 lead, and looked to control the tempo of the game. Limiting Raines to zero opportunities to move into scoring position in the six drives they had in the first half, Bolles maintained that advantage at halftime. For his efforts, Neal, only a sophomore, rushed for 120 yards on 17 carries in the first half.

Getting the ball to open the second half, and hoping to carry their first half momentum, the Bulldogs found out that the Vikings had their own ideas about the outcome of the final 24 minutes. Forcing Bolles to punt the ball, Raines opened the third quarter at their own 39-yard line.

On a fourth and inches, Doles converted to keep the drive moving. From there, Miller [19-yard run] and passes to Terrell Sheppard of 16 yards and Ty’ren Randolph for 15 yards, moved the ball to the Bolles three-yard line, helping to keep the Vikings poised and ready for a comeback. After losing ground to the 11-yard line, Doles hit Miller on a swing pass, and he avoided one defended, lunging into the endzone for the score. A Johnathan Barrett’s PAT moved the Vikings to within seven points at the 4:12 mark of the quarter.

Raines force another Bolles punt and got the ball at their own 35-yard with less than a minute left in the quarter. On a critical third down, a Bulldog penalty kept Raines hopes alive for tying the game, but the Vikings drive stalled, and they punted the ball at the 10:42 mark.

Beginning their first drive of the final quarter, Bolles saw a pass interference and then an offside penalty by Raines extend the drive. Lining up in the “wildcat formation” at the Vikings 36-yard line, Coach Matt Toblin used a “jump pass” from Kavon Miller to tight end Chase Cox, who was wide open, taking it to the house, and giving Bolles some breathing room with another two-score lead.

With there still being time to score, Raines got moving again, as Doles zipped a pass into the endzone looking to connect with Randolph. Although a Bulldog defender was able to tip the ball, Randolph kept his eye on the ball, hauling it in for the score, which made it 21-14 Bulldogs.

The Raines defense was called on again and answered by shutting down the Bolles offensive attack, getting the ball back for one final drive by the Vikings offense. Starting from their own 32-yard line, three consecutive incomplete long passes, left time on the clock with hopes that the vaulted Raines defense could get the ball back. Jaylen Clark got off a 62-yard punt, setting the Bulldogs up at their own 6-yard line. With 2:37 left in the game, the Vikings hoped for a miracle, however, Bolles was deliberate in managing the final minutes on the clock. By  running the ball, the Bulldogs forced Raines to use all their timeouts, and eventually, ran out the clock, holding on for the win and another regional title.

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