It was supposed to be an easy game for the T.W. Josey Eagles. Someone just forgot to tell the Richmond Academy Musketeers.
Although it took awhile, Josey, Georgia's No. 1 Class AAA team, overcame a slew of mistakes to squeak out an 18-10 victory at White Road Stadium on Friday, thanks to a pair of late touchdowns.
James Bonner, a sophomore who rushed for 134 yards in his second high school game, scored a touchdown from the 2-yard line to give Josey its first lead of the game with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter.
Bonner rushed for 116 yards last week in a 40-0 victory over Butler.
Josey (2-0, 1-0 Region 4-AAA) put the game away when Armark Tolbert scored from a yard out with 3:41 left to play. The touchdown was set up by a spectacular punt return by Deon Grant, who broke four tackles in returning the ball 45 yards to the 1-yard line.
On the night, Grant returned four punts for 157 total yards, including three returns that were longer than the punt.
The win was overshadowed as Richmond Academy head coach Frank Caputo was taken by ambulance to University Hospital with pains in his left side. He was listed stable at 11:15 p.m., Friday.
The late comeback by Josey was necessary as Josey committed numerous mistakes, both offensively and defensively.
Richmond Academy (0-2, 0-1 Region 4-AAA) forced six fumbles, and recovered five of them. Three times Josey fumbled the ball away inside the Musketeer 20-yard line.
The first fumble was on the opening kickoff as Josey's Willie Bryant fumbled at the 27-yard line after a hard hit by Jahmal Rainey. Rainey picked up the ball and scampered 23 yards for a Musketeer touchdown just 11 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.
After Josey turned the ball over on downs inside the Richmond Academy 20-yard line, one of two times that happened in the game, Josey finally got on the board when Bryant atoned for his opening fumble with a 3-yard touchdown run. Shelly Tate's extra point was blocked, so Josey trailed at the half 7-6.
Richmond Academy extended their lead to 10-6 when Chris Adams nailed a 28-yard field goal with 7:06 left in the third quarter.
Adams later had a 49-yard field goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter, leading to the eventual go-ahead touchdown by Bonner.
The comeback covered other mistakes made by Josey in the ballgame. They twice gave the ball back after punts due to penalties. After the blocked field goal, John Fielding returned the ball 66 yards for a touchdown, but a clipping penalty nullified the score. In all, Josey was penalized 10 times for 105 yards.
Both teams combined for 20 penalties for 180 yards. Josey's defense rose to the occasion, however, as they limited Richmond Academy to just 149 yards of total offense and just two first half first downs.