DUBLIN — The West Bladen defense held visiting South Robeson to less than 50 yards total offense, and the Knights racked up more than 300 yards en route to a 46-0 whitewashing of the Mustangs in the season opener on Friday.
The win puts West Bladen at 1-0 and drops South Robeson to 0-1.
The Knights scored early and often against a Mustang defense that could not stop the run. After stopping South Rob and forcing a punt, Ashton Lyons broke through and blocked the Mustang punt, giving the West Bladen the ball at the Mustang 11.
On the first play for West Bladen, James Moore took the hand-off on a jet sweep and raced into the end zone for a touchdown. The point after was no good, but the Knights were up 6-0.
The Mustangs were forced to punt again and West Bladen took possession on its own 40. After a 6-yard run by Malique McDowell, a 44-yard run by Moore was negated by a penalty. But the Knights went on a seven-play drive highlighted by a 12-yard run by Moore, 13-yard run by McDowell and 18-yard run by quarterback Stefon McDonald that found the end zone. Moore tacked on the two-point conversion to give the Knights a 14-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
South Robeson fumbled the kickoff and Ricky McLaurin fell on the ball for West Bladen at the Mustangs’ 45.
McDowell took two hand-offs and gained 28 yards before De’quan Lennon rumbled 17 yards for a touchdown. The kick was no good, but the Knights were up 20-0.
South Robeson got a 41-yard kickoff return to set up the offense at the West Bladen 49, but three plays produced 3 yards and a 29-yard punt gave the Knights possession at their own 35 after the return.
A 6-yard run by Moore was offset by a penalty, but Lennon ran for 19 yards and three more runs moved the ball to the South Rob 34. McDonald hurled a leaping pass to Jonathan Ashworth that went for 29 yards and, four plays later, McDonald hit Hunter Prevatte with a 5-yard pass for a touchdown with 8:08 left in the half. The conversion was no good and West Bladen had a 26-0 lead.
South Robeson’s next possession netted just a yard before a 24-yard punt got returned to the Mustangs’ 22 — but a penalty moved the Knights back to the 37 to begin their march.
Moore ran for 2 yards and Lennon busted one for 23 yards before Moore took the ball 12 yards for a score that got called back on a penalty. After McDonald’s only incomplete pass of the game, McDowell ran for 9 yards, Lennon ran for 6 and McDonald found Moore with an 8-yard pass before McDonald snuck in for a 1-yard touchdown. Jones booted the extra point to give West Bladen a 33-0 advantage at halftime.
The Knights took the opening possession of the second half and went on a seven-play drive that covered 54 yards and culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by McDowell just 3:24 into the third quarter. Jones’ kick was good and gave West Bladen a 40-0 edge.
South Robeson started its first possession of the second half at its own 9 and moved 23 yards before things went sour. After a fumble blew up one play, a second straight fumble was recovered by David Gittens for the Knights at the South Rob 25.
Luis Ramirez ran twice for 22 yards and Malcolm finished things off with a 3-yard touchdown run. The kick was no good, but West Bladen went up 46-0 and sparked the start of a running clock the rest of the game.
With both teams using their subs heavily, neither mounted any real threats the rest of the way.
“We made a lot of mistakes, but there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement,” West Bladen coach Russell Dove said. “We’ll get better. I’m happy with the outcome, but there is plenty to work on.
“The defense played well, flying around to the ball,” he added. “We had too many penalties, but most of them were caused by good aggressive play.”
McDowell led West Bladen’s ground game with 112 yards on 14 carries, followed by Lennon with 84 yards on 10 carries and Moore’s 35 yards on six carries.
McDonald was 3-for-4 through the air for 43 yards and a touchdown.
The Knights will travel to Cerro Gordo on Friday to take on West Columbus.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.