With less than a week to go until their regular season opener, the Effingham Flaming Hearts took the field Saturday night for the annual Buck Bowl scrimmage.
Both sides of the ball, offense and defense, had their moments as the offense racked up 21 points in three 10-minute quarters.
The offense looked like they would steal the show early, racing down the field and gaining four straight first downs on first down. With 6:11 remaining and on third and goal, quarterback Kevin Daughtery barreled in on a quarterback sneak from the one-yard line to make it 7-0.
The defense got it together for the rest of the first two quarters, forcing two punts and a turnover on downs. On the second offensive drive, Daugherty hit Dylan Wolff on fourth and eight in a very tight passing window to extend the offense's second drive.
But the defense recovered, stuffing a quarterback run and sacking Daugherty on back-to-back plays to force a punt.
With the field reversed, the defense forced a three-and-out thanks to a nice play by defensive back Marcus Robinson. On third and three, Daugherty dropped back to pass and looked for Matt Wohltman on an out route toward the sideline, but Robinson made a diving deflection and stopped the possession.
The first two quarters were played with a running clock, but coach Mike McDonald had the clock run a traditional format in the third quarter.
A long kick return set the offense up at the defense's 47-yard line and the Hearts went to work. Daugherty hit Wohltman for a 25-yard gain on a play action pass, and Zach Miller had a nice 20-yard run with some cutbacks to set Effingham up at the two-yard line.
Billy Arndt punched it in from there to put the offense up 14-0.
The offense continued to find its rhythm again on the next drive. With 6:36 remaining, Daugherty dropped back and hit Wohltman again for a 35-yard gain down to the one-yard line. Trent Barnhart scored from one yard out to make it 21-0 for the Buck Bowl's final score.
Daugherty exited the game, going 9-for-14 passing after starting the game 5-for-10, finding a groove in the third quarter.
Wolff came in on the game's last two drives, where the defense forced a punt, and Robinson ended a drive down near the goal line with an interception of a Wolff pass. He finished 1-for-7 in limited action.
Effingham looks to recover from last year's 2-7 season after nine straight playoff appearances. Their season opens Friday night when they host Breese Mater Dei at 7 p.m. at Klosterman Field.