By EMILY R. WEST
The winning score to junior tackle Robbie Kirkpatrick was simply digits on the scoreboard Saturday night.
His teammates huddled around him after Battle Ground Academy’s (2-0) 38-7 victory over Friendship Christian High School (0-2). BGA Head Coach Roc Batten lifted him up in prayer.
Kirkpatrick’s white taped hands had the letters A and R in thick black ink.
“These are the initials of my grandfather,” he said. “I played this for him tonight.”
With the rain delay pushing the BGA game to Saturday night, Kirkpatrick had a choice to make. He could play the season’s first home game, or he could attend his grandfather’s memorial in New York this morning.
“I was originally supposed to drive down to Atlanta and make my flight to make the funeral,” he said. “But when the game got rescheduled, I was broken up because I was going to have to miss the game. But my family told me to go out and play tonight for him. I want to thank all my teammates for helping honor him tonight.”
And Kirkpatrick and his teammates honored him well. Before the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats had already posted 21 points on the board.
Juniors Drew Martin and Kel Hawkins were electric on the field. The duo connected for three of the Wildcat touchdowns. Two of their scores came from a 67-yard pass completion and a 74-yard run. Quarterback Jake Holloway also completed a 95-yard touchdown pass to Oliver Reese on a trick play.
Overall, BGA had a total of 405 offensive yards. Batten said he couldn’t have asked for a better performance.
“It’s not easy to come back after rain delays,” he said. “All day, the schedule wasn’t familiar with our guys at home. I was just proud of the way we stayed focus and locked in on this game. This was a great win for us through all the craziness of Friday night storms. I hope we can build off of this as we go into next week.”
Batten said the offensive explosion on the field Saturday came from the plans generated the week prior. But he said on field advantages only allowed for his players to excel when they seized an opportunity.
“We executed what we put in this week,” he said. “There’s nothing better as a coach when you install things and work on things, and you see it happen on the field. Our young men did a great job executing and that’s a big step for us and this young team.”
Going into next week, Batten said the Wildcats will correct and critique fundamentally on both sides of the ball. BGA will face St. Benedict at Auburndale in Cordova, Tennessee.