Perhaps Bridge Creek was inspired by the return of football coach Jerry Wallis.
Wallis, who missed the Bobcats' season-opening loss to Washington last week because of a medical procedure, was back on the sideline Thursday night to watch his club trounce John Marshall, 55-28, at Taft Stadium in a game that wasn't that close.
The Bobcats recovered an onsides kick on the opening kickoff, and it never got any better for John Marshall.
Bridge Creek's Brandon Carlton played the best game of his career. The senior wide receiver and defensive back ran for a 2-yard touchdown for the first score of the night, lining up at quarterback in the Bobcats short yardage package.
He later caught a 70-yard touchdown pass and returned an interception 53 yards for another score.
“It's a rare game to get three like that,” Wallis said. “He had a heck of game.”
Carlton even surprised himself on his biggest play of the night, making several John Marshall tacklers miss after a catching a short pass and racing 70 yards for the touchdown.
“I had a lot of broken tackles,” he said. “I didn't think I was going to get it.”
Carlton was not the only Bobcat with a huge game. Running back Loren Burrage ran for three touchdowns, including an 80-yard romp with just 33 seconds left in the first half to give Bridge Creek a 35-6 halftime lead. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior finished with 179 yards on nine carries.
Senior running back Morgan Merrell scored on a 7-yard run and rushed for 123 yards on eight carries.
“The offensive line played well,” Wallis said. “We got two different types of backs. Morgan has a little more speed. Loren is a little more downhill. He fights and twists for the extra yardage, but he has a got a little speed too when he gets in the open field.”
Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Wynne, who was thrust into the starting role when Kris Kachelein broke his collar bone in a preseason scrimmage, was 8 of 12 passing for 128 yards.
“I thought he threw the ball pretty well tonight,” Wallis said. “The more reps he gets the better he is going to get. He broke his arm in the eighth grade and didn't get to play. His dad was overseas his freshman year and he didn't get to play. This has been his first experience in about two years. I am real pleased with Jimmy so far.”
Bridge Creek (1-1) intercepted three passes in the game and returned two for scores. Cornerback Ethan Heck had a 60-yard interception return for the Bobcats in the first quarter as Bridge Creek jumped to a 22-0 lead after the opening period.
A bright spot for the Bears was running back Jabreel Reed, who carried the ball 30 times for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Reed scored on runs of 60 and 8 yards in the fourth quarter against Bridge Creek reserves.
“He got going last week too,” John Marshall coach Bruce Troxell said. “I want him to do it against the ones. I don't want him to do it against the twos. He ran hard, but we need to do that in the first quarter.”
John Marshall receiver Tyler Stamm caught two touchdown passes from Leonard Leviston, but the Bears' quarterback also threw three interceptions. Those turnovers plus the onsides kick to start the game left the Bears in a big hole.
“We need to quit turning the ball over on the opening kickoff,” Troxell said. “That's two weeks in a row we've done that.”
John Marshall (0-2) lost its opener last week to Northwest, 35-16.
“We had four or five freshmen out there tonight on offense starting and it wasn't good,” Troxell said. “I think we are playing hard, but we got to get lined up right. That's an issue. We still got a ways to go. We got to get it worked out by week four. Week four is when it counts.”
John Marshall was penalized 11 times in the game for 66 yards and had several injuries during the game.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, enjoyed the warm evening at Taft Stadium.
“We had fun tonight,” Carlton said.