DUBLIN — South Columbus held West Bladen to just 37 offensive plays, 125 total yards and three earned first downs en route to a 42-0 Three Rivers Conference win on Friday.
The loss dropped the Knights to 4-6 overall and 2-6 in the conference, while the visiting Stallions clinched at least a share of the conference crown with a 10-0, 8-0 mark.
After the West Bladen offense went nowhere on its first possession, South Columbus took over at its own 35 and went on an 11-play, 65-yard march to the end zone. The point after was no good, but the Stallions had a 6-0 lead with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
The Knights ran just one play after the kickoff, and the pass was tipped and intercepted. But the West Bladen defense bowed up and stopped the South Columbus drive after just 22 yards.
Three plays gained just 7 yards for West Bladen, but a 46-yard punt by Kendall Johnson pinned the Stallions back on their own 15 early in the second quarter. This time, the Knights defense couldn’t hold back the South Columbus offense, which traveled the 85 yards in 10 plays and punched the ball in with 8:41 left in the half. The two-point conversion was good and gave the visitors a 14-0 edge.
Jimmy Williams gathered in the ensuring kickoff at the Knights’ 35 and zig-zagged his way to the South Columbus 27. After a pass picked up a yard, two Stallions penalties after the play gave West Bladen 21 yards — all the way down to the South Columbus 7. Kerron Washington went on a jet sweep to the 1 and B.J. Drake busted up the middle to the one-foot line. On fourth and goal, Washington bounced into the end zone to put points on the board for the Knights — for a moment.
A holding penalty brought the ball back just past the 10, and West Bladen’s next pass was intercepted at the Stallions’ 1.
South Columbus marched 99 yards in 10 plays, scoring with 2:33 left in the half. The PAT gave the visitors a 21-0 advantage.
West Bladen, thanks to a 27-yard pass from quarterback Tyre Boykin to Washington, moved to the Stallions’ 23, but the effort fizzled there when the half arrived.
South Columbus outgained the Knights by a 279-52 margin in the first half, and ran 37 plays to West Bladen’s 16.
“I don’t believe in moral victories,” said West Bladen coach Kris Williams when asked about holding the Stallions to 21 first-half points. “The defense played well, but we need to convert some third downs.”
South Columbus’ momentum continued in the second half, as the Stallions took the opening possession and went 65 yards in just three plays for a touchdown. The extra point gave South Columbus a 28-0 advantage just 38 seconds into the third quarter.
West Bladen started its next possession at its own 19 and only managed to go backwards to the 17. A 25-yard punt set the Stallions up on the West Bladen 42 and it took South Columbus just seven plays to find pay dirt. The point after put the Stallions up 35-0 with 6:37 left in the third quarter.
The Knights, starting from the visitors’ 47, earned its second first down on a 14-yard run by Dayvon Swindell and, several plays later, found themselves on the South Columbus 20. But West Bladen could get no closer and gave the ball back to the Stallions at their own 25.
South Columbus used just six plays to move the 75 yards and scored just under 2 minutes into the fourth quarter. The PAT was good to give the Stallions a 42-0 lead and started the running clock for the rest of the game.
The Knights started its final possession at their own 28 and began a drive that featured a 16-yard run by Drake and 12-yard run by M.J.Hepburn to move the ball to the South Columbus 28 before time expired.
“They’re very good,” Williams said about the Stallions. “It took a while for them to get rolling, but we knew it was coming — and once it did, it was hard to stop.”
South Columbus bottled up the West Bladen ground game, allowing Swindell 30 yards on six carries and Drake 25 yards on 10 carries. Through the air, Boykin was 4-of-14 for 35 yards with two interceptions.
West Bladen travels to face East Bladen on Friday in the conference’sregular-season finale.
W. Curtr Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.