STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTOS BY ANDY COLLIGNON
It was another Friday night and another landslide win for the Battle Ground Academy Wildcats, who powered to 4-0 following a 49-7 wipeout of visiting Boyd-Buchanan High School.
Wildcats quarterback Nick Semptimphelter torched the Buccaneers defense for 305 yards and 4 passing touchdowns on the night, all coming in the first half.
The starting junior connected twice with Antonio Stevens (six catches, 134 yards, two TDs) for scores, as well as TD passes to Chico Bennett Jr. (two catches, 66 yds, one TD) and Wilson Parker before being pulled after halftime.
All told, the Wildcats racked up 416 yards of total offense. Given the course of the evening, the only thing that managed to slow down BGA’s attack was Mother Nature.
Separate lightning strikes led to a delay of more than 45 minutes after getting in less than eight minutes of football. It was enough for the Wildcats to sprint out to a 14-0 lead, but neither the scoreboard or game break were cause to concentrate on anything other than football.
“That’s half the battle in football; can you play physical within the rules but also maintain your composure? That’s what we’ve been working on all season, remaining composed and also resilient,” BGA head coach Roc Batten told Home Page.
“We preach that every practice and every chance we get on game night, and also what we kept in the boys’ heads during in the locker room [during the weather delay].”
It didn’t take long for BGA to rediscover its groove once action resumed around 8:25 p.m., nearly 90 minutes after kickoff, yet with 4:31 still go in the 1st quarter. The Wildcats ran the lead to 21-0 at the end of the quarter, with Bennett taking off on a 30-yard catch and sprint.
To their credit, the visiting Buccaneers held their heads high all evening and never mailed in their performance. A glimmer of hope was provided early in the 2nd quarter on a rare mistake by the Wildcats, when Semptimphelter threw a long pass directly into the grasp of Boyd-Buchanan two-way starter Preston Edmonson.
Momentum didn’t last very long, as Boyd-Buchanan failed to put points on the board out of the exchange. BGA scored on its next three possessions to take a 42-0 lead into halftime. Boyd-Buchanan would only score a fourth-quarter touchdown.
The night marked the fourth time in as many games in the 2018 season that BGA has won by 20 or more points. They have now outscored opponents 181-34, their high-potent offense led by Semptimphelter who has already thrown for 1124 yards and 13 touchdowns.
With plenty of reason to celebrate, the BGA coaching staff was quick to remind its squad of what still lies ahead, beginning with a highly-anticipated clash next Friday versus Christ Presbyterian Academy, who also advanced to 4-0 following an 18-14 win over Pearl-Cohn High School.
The battle of private school powerhouses will come exactly 52 weeks to the day of their last meet, one that BGA would love to forget but instead plans to use as motivation.
“That’s a good program, Ingle Martin is a good friend of mine. We played there last year, and they just got after us,” Batten recalls of the 44-14 loss to CPA last September. “For us going into this game, it’s about details, coming to practice on Monday and preparing all week for a dogfight.”
Last year’s drubbing remains fresh on the mind of the Wildcats coaching staff and players alike, enough to remember where they were in the journey that has led them to where they stand today.
“We’re coming into each game with a lot more depth, and you expect that with the seniors who started out on this team as sophomore, and the juniors who were here as freshman,” said Batten of the maturity in his team. “We have a lot of three- and four-year players on this team, so we’ll see what we can do next week.”
Below is a slideshow by photographer Andy Collignon.