No matter where B.W. Holt has coached, the fullback always has been a big part of his Wing-T offense.
So on Friday night during fullback Adam Bayless’ final game at Rocky Mount Academy, it seemed obvious that he would play a major role in the Eagles’ attack.
What wasn’t expected was just how big a of a hand Bayless had in the Eagles’ 48-7 victory. Bayless scored five times – four in the first half – on just 10 offensive touches.
He stood in the Rocky Mount Academy courtyard after the game clear to the fact that he would never play another game at the school. But he also understood just how good he played in his final one.
“This was a dream game, for sure,” Bayless said. “That’s the way you want to go out at home.”
Rocky Mount Academy (4-5) ended its season with a victory and will play at either Cary Christian or Hobgood Academy in the first round of the state playoffs next Friday.
The Eagles lost to both teams by just one point this year.
However, in its final home game, Rocky Mount Academy’s biggest star stood out. Bayless rushed for three touchdowns in the first quarter as the Eagles scored on five of their six first-half possessions.
After a touchdown run by Chris Jenkins in the second, Bayless scored his fourth touchdown on his eighth carry.
Halifax Academy (1-8) spent most of the night worried about Jenkins and wing back Linwood Jones on the outside.
As a result, Bayless was free to run wild in the middle.
“He’s a big part of that,” Holt said of Bayless, who surpassed the 1,600-yard mark this season. “Big-time.”
Bayless not only started the offensive outburst but a surprise standout performance from the defensive unit. Rocky Mount Academy allowed just 62 yards in the second half while yielding a season-low seven points.
“Defense is key for us,” said Bayless, who sacked Halifax Academy quarterback Garrett Morris on the Vikings’ only pass play. “We know we are going to be able to score points against basically anybody. We think we have one of the best offensive lines in the league. If we can stop people, we are going to be in ball games against just about everybody in the league.”
Four weeks ago, Rocky Mount Academy had just finished a three-week stretch in which the Eagles allowed 152 combined points.
Things changed and the Eagles went back to basics. Holt implemented a three-station tackling circuit emphasizing the importance of improved tackling to start every practice.
“We had to because we weren’t very good tacklers,” Holt said. “We’ve gotten better.”
The Eagles have allowed just 54 points in the past three weeks.
“The whole entire team is getting better,” defensive back Kasey Royster said. “Everyone is getting better.”
While everyone around Rocky Mount Academy is improving, two players are out of time to improve.
Bayless and fellow senior Ryan Holloman, an offensive lineman who recorded his first carry Friday, ended their home careers.
“I’m going to miss a lot of stuff about it,” Bayless said.
Rocky Mount Academy 48
Halifax Academy 7
HA 0 7 0 0 – 7
RMA 20 14 14 0 – 48
RMA – Adam Bayless 37 run (kick failed), 10:08
RMA – Bayless 1 run (run failed), 5:42
RMA – Bayless 21 run (Trey Medlin run), :28.6
HA – Landon Poole 4 run (Austin Starnes kick), 8:04
RMA – Chris Jenkins 15 run (run failed), 6:08
RMA – Bayless 2 run (Bayless run), :5.3
RMA – Bayless 5 run (Bayless kick), 8:20
RMA – Jacob Hunter 23 run (Bayless kick), 4:13
13 First downs..............22
0 Passing yards...........25
198 Total offense.........376
Rushing – HA: Landon Poole 33-186; Austin Arthur 2-13; Luke Blackman 9-8; Andrew Bryant 2-(-2); Garrett Morris 1-(-7); RMA: Linwood Jones 11-136; Adam Bayless 9-85; Chris Jenkins 9-71; Jacob Hunter 3-30; Kyle Holland 3-10; Delano Miller 3-9; Will Batchelor 1-7; Kasey Royster 4-5; Ryan Holloman 1-(-2). Attempts – Yards; Name 16 – 134
Passing – RMA: Trey Medlin 2-3-0 25; Holland 0-1.
Receiving – RMA: Jones 1-24; Bayless 1-1.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org