Garrard actually was close to being fine for most of the first half against Bell, a preseason Class AAAA state title contender.
Bell's vaunted ground game churned out a six-play, 59-yard scoring drive ended by a 1-yard run by Spencer Greer, who ran for 179 yards on only 16 carries, on its first possession. However, instead of buckling, the Golden Lions stopped Bell's next drive when Will Ray recovered Greer's fumble.
It got better for Garrard, too, as the Golden Lions pushed the ball to their own 44-yard line midway of period two. On third down, though, Cash Staley's pass was intercepted and returned 53 yards for a score by Matt Simpson with 6 minutes, 37 seconds left in the half. Bell added a 77-yard, seven play scoring drive capped by quarterback Shawnta Zachery's 2-yard run 49 seconds before halftime to extend the lead to 21-0.
"That interception was a big turnover and a big swing in the game," Scenters said. "If we could have made a few blocks, we might have scored. Instead, they got the interception for a score and then got another late score. The game could have been close at half, and that could have changed a lot of things."
Bell dominated the third quarter with scoring drives of 57, 50 and 73 yards to put the game out of reach.
Garrard finally drove 91 yards tot he Bell four-yard line before being stopped on downs in the fourth quarter. On Bell's first play, Michael Riley recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the Golden Lions their only score.
"But that long drive is something we can build on," Scenters said.
Garrard got a solid offensive performance from senior Tyler Ray. He ran for 47 yards on 10 carries and caught five passes for 44 yards. He played receiver, quarterback and running back.
"Tyler is a very versatile player. We can move him around and create mismatches with him," Scenters said. "He's going to be a big key for our offense, and our defense as well."
One problem Garrard had was field position because of Bell kicker Monte Merrick. He put all but one kickoff into the end zone and Garrard's best starting field position was its own 21-yard line.
"He can boom the ball," Bell coach Dudley Hilton said. "He's a real weapon. He's waiting for college offers, but I think North Carolina State will offer soon and Clemson is really interested in him."
Scenters thinks a lot of Class AAAA teams are going to be interested in seeing Bell play this year.
"They are a big, strong, physical team. I take responsibility for us not matching that because I got this job late and we just weren't strong enough to stay with them," Scenters said. "But I don't think we will see another team this physical all year unless we get Belfry in the (Class AA) state semifinals.
"But at least Bell knew it was in a good, clean fight. We are not really street fighters, but we hung in there and never quit. As long as we give that effort, we can clean things up and move forward."
At Stanford PBK Bank Death Valley Bowl
Bell - Spencer Greer (Monte Merrick kick), 6:17
Bell -Matt Simpson 53 interception (Merrick kick), 6:37
Bell - Shawnta Zachery 2 run (Merrick kick), :49
Bell - Justin Goodin 2 run (Merrick kick), 7:47
Bell - Matt Raines 26 pass from Zachery (Merrick kick), 6:24
Bell - Cory Davenport 3 run (Merrick kick), 11:57
Garrard - Michael Riley fumble recovery (kick failed), 4:11
Bell - Davenport 60 run (Josh Brown run), 3:02
RUSHING-Bell, Spencer Greer 16-179, Cory Davenport 2-68, Justin Goodin 8-31, Shawnta Zachery 4-29, Joey Broughton 3-18, Ben Madon 3-6, Josh Brown 1-15, Matt Raines 3-4, Tyler Harbin 1-3, Dean Clark 1-minus 4. Garrard, Tyler Ray 10-47, Jansen penman 7-35, Jamarious Merritt 8-32, Fred Hayes 6-32, Cash Staley 4-minus 9.
PASSING-Bell, Zachery 6-8-126-0. Garrard, Staley 11-20-83-1.
RECEIVING- Bell, John Dudley Hilton 2-43, Chris Ely 3-58, Raines 2-29 . Garrard, Ray 5-44, Zach Hounshell 3-23, Hayes 2-10, Will Demarcus 1-6.BELL CO.7141415--50GARRARD0006--6BGFirst Downs1914Rushes42-32935-135Passing13080Total Yards459218Comp-Att-Int7-9-011-20-1Fumbles - Lost2-11-0Penalties8-758-76