PANAMA CITY — If Bay’s role on Thursday night was to welcome Pensacola Catholic to District 1-5A football, it was along the line of Duke welcoming Florida State to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992.
Catholic rolled to a 54-13 victory at Tommy Oliver Stadium in its first game since moving up in class to the new district alignment. This is not to imply that the Crusaders (4-0, 1-0) will roll to nine consecutive titles as FSU did once joining the ACC, but it definitely was a statement that the Pensacola school, ranked third in Class 5A, will play a major role in deciding which district teams qualify for the postseason.
Bay (2-2, 0-1) was stifled from the onset by Catholic’s defense, which now has allowed only two touchdowns this season and just 16 points in the past 14 quarters. The Crusaders conversely needed only 5 minutes of the third quarter to score two touchdowns and break open the game.
The Tornadoes were unable to exploit Catholic’s advantage in speed, experience and athleticism on defense while totaling 255 yards from scrimmage. Until the middle of the third quarter their deepest penetration was the Crusaders’ 35. Quarterback Xavier Longerbeam found Travian Turrell on a 64-yard pass and run at that point and Raekwon Webb bulled 3 yards for Bay’s only offensive touchdown.
“They’re just so fast on defense,” Bay coach Jimmy Longerbeam said of the Crusaders. “Up front they just don’t stay blocked. You can’t get to the next level and at their linebackers.”
While Bay’s offense was being frustrated, Catholic’s attack took advantage of repeated opportunities supplied by a defensive unit that forced three three-and-outs and six punts overall.
Quarterback Cody Henry passed for 227 yards and touchdowns of 52 yards to Tylan Purifoy and 8 yards to Daniel Byrd for the Crusaders’ opening touchdowns.
Henry also played a role in the Tornadoes briefly getting back into the game late in the first half. He avoided a rush by defensive end Keith McNeil, and while scrambling to his right threw into the flat out of desperation.
A Crusaders’ receiver tipped the ball into the air and Bay’s Wazir Brevard gathered it at Catholic’s 12 and ran unimpeded into the end zone to narrow the score to 20-7 at halftime.
Simeon Smiley weaved 86 yards with the third-quarter kickoff and any momentum Bay might have achieved suddenly was gone. A 9-yard scoring run by Henry and 19-yard gallop by Kyle Brown sandwiched Webb’s touchdown and it was 40-13 after three quarters.
Purifoy ran a reverse 52 yards to score and Smiley had a 37-yard with 7:07 remaining to hasten a running clock.
Xavier Longerbeam competed 14 of 27 passes for 170 yards to spark Bay’s offense, but suffered three interceptions, two of them by Emon Smith. The Tornadoes also lost a fumble.
Webb rushed for 57 hard-earned yards on 21 carries and Turrell caught four passes for 91 yards. Johnny Layfield and Robert Monroe also had four receptions each for Bay, which travels to Gulf Breeze next week for another district game.
Catholic 14 6 20 14 - 54
Bay 0 7 6 0 - 13
CHS: T.Purifoy 52 pass from Henry (kick failed)
CHS: Byrd 8 pass from Henry (Smith run)
CHS: Reaves 2 run (kick blocked)
BHS: Brevard 12 interception return (Ray kick)
CHS: Smiley 86 kickoff return (Richmond kick)
CHS: Henry 9 run (Richmond kick)
BHS: Webb 3 run (run failed)
PCS: Brown 19 run (kick failed)
CHS: T. Purifoy 52 run (Harris kick)
CHS: Smiley 37 run (Harris kick)
RUSHING — CHS: Smiley 5-63, Brown 6-63, T.Purifoy 1-52, Reaves 3-7, J.Purifoy 1-5, Henry 3-(-10). BHS: Webb 21-57, Gordon 5-28, Goodman 3-14, Turrell 1-3, Longerbeam 3-(-13).
PASSING — CHS: Henry 14-28-1-227. BHS: Longerbeam 14-27-3-170.
RECEIVING — CHS: Smith 3-87, T.Purifoy 3-57, Byrd 3-55, Moorer 3-28, Reaves 1-5, Adams 1-(-5). BHS: Turrell 4-91, Layfield 4-27, Monroe 4-14, Webb 2-38.