LITTLE RIVER-ACADEMY — Throughout the week, the chances of Philip Redwine getting to play this week were slim.
A bout of pink eye limited his availability to practice. He was cleared to play Friday, but was still experiencing blurred vision.
You wouldn’t have known it.
Redwine caught three touchdown passes from Malik Jackson as the Academy Bumblebees crafted a well-designed 28-14 victory over Salado in a District 13-2A-I game at John Glover Stadium.
“I was cleared to play on Thursday and able to go through walk-throughs,” said the junior tight end/safety. “The linemen made it so I could just swing out in the open and Malik just put the ball right in my chest.”
Redwine caught touchdown passes of 6, 66 and 25 yards, respectively. This from a team that threw just seven passes in a very economically sound performance.
“It was a team effort,” said Jackson, who was 6-of-7 for 150 yards and took an interception back 68 yards for a touchdown to have a hand in each of the Bumblebees’ four scores.
Meanwhile, the Bee defense gave up 302 yards to the potent Eagle offense that had been averaging over 34 points per game to just two scores.
“That was as much our offense as it was our defense,” said Academy coach Mike Nichols, whose team is 4-4 and 2-3. “Our best defense was keeping their offense off the field, and their quarterback.”
Salado’s prolific quarterback McLane Carter was 22-of-36 for 192 yards with two interceptions. Much of the Eagles’ success came on the ground with Ryan Simmons rushing for 107 yards on 21 carries.
It was Jackson’s interception of Carter on a fourth-down pass that got the Bees on the board first at the 2:44 mark of the first quarter. Eric Bigon added the first of his four extra points.
The Eagles evened the score before the quarter ended as Carter hit Chase Crenwelge in stride in the end zone on a 30-yard touchdown strike.
Redwine caught two of his touchdown passes in the second quarter to put the Bees ahead 21-7 at halftime.
Cody Martinez set up the first one with a 57-yard burst to the Eagle 8. Two plays later, Jackson rolled right and found Redwine deep in the end zone to recapture the lead.
Moments later, the Jackson found Redwine alone along the left sideline for a 66-yard tally for a two-touchdown margin with 7:42 to go in the half.
Academy built a 28-7 lead after its first possession of the second half, going 46 yards in five plays as Jackson again hooked up with Redwine from 25 yards out.
Salado cut the lead in half with an 18-play, 88-yard drive that erased more than six minutes from the clock. Carter was 7-of-9 for 56 yards on the march with him scrambling on fourth down to find Simmons open in the left flat for a 7-yard touchdown reception.
Neither team scored the rest of the way, but a Bee drive that took 5:18 off the fourth-quarter clock and Jackson recovering a late Eagle fumble sealed it for Academy.
Salado dips to 1-7 overall and 1-4 in district.
“We didn’t do anything special,” Nichols said of the game plan. “I’m just so proud of the kids for their effort and execution.”