|SF ends winless drought |
|No rain fell but, for South Fulton, the drought ended Friday night. |
Overcoming a 13-2 deficit at halftime, the Red Devils allowed no offensive scores in the second half and rallied with three touchdowns en route to a 26-19 victory over Ballard Memorial.
The win was especially sweet for the Red Devils, who had last tasted victory on the field in Week 10 of the 2005 season. Last year, SF was awarded a forfeit victory over Fulton City due to FC’s use of ineligible players but was winless other than that technicality.
“It feels great to get this win,” said Red Devils’ skipper Gwin Wood. “We ran a little extra this week and I think that helped to keep us from becoming fatigued in the second half.”
The difference between South Fulton in the first half and second could best be described as night and day. A safety — recorded when Bart Netherland sacked Chris Boyrff in the endzone after a fumble — kept the Red Devils from shooting blanks in the first half, while the locals rattled off three scores in the second half.
On the first offensive play of the third quarter for SF, Jonathan Avent scampered 64 yards from the line of scrimmage for South Fulton’s first touchdown of the 2007 season. Avent was a player to be reckoned with Friday with 195 yards off 26 carries in the win. The sophomore followed his TD sprint with the two-point conversion as the Red Devils pulled within a field goal, 13-10.
After a pair of uneventful Ballard Memorial possessions, South Fulton quarterback Hunter Harris finally found his groove after going 2-for-10 in the first three quarters.
Harris found Holden Mc-Connell in single coverage for a 30-yard reception that set up a one-yard power run by Tyler Morris early in the fourth to put SF up 18-13 with Skylar Cherry punching through the two-point attempt.
Following that score, the Red-men added the defeating blow after Morris picked up a fumble left behind off an ill-fated reverse attempt by the Bombers.
Cherry banged his way to a five-yard gain on first down with Morris garnering a new set of plays after a six-yard run on second.
After an incomplete pass, the Red Devils went to the air again for a substantial gain.
“We had been lining up two tight ends and their defense was covering McConnell and Corbin Hawks,” Wood told The Messenger. “They weren’t bringing in the safety to cover Skylar Cherry and we saw him open and he made a big-time play for us.”
The aforementioned play was a 28-yard reception over the middle that set the ball at the Ballard Memorial 9.
Three plays later, Cherry muscled his way to paydirt with a carry of half a foot for the locals’ final score.
After SF scored the last of its touchdowns and went up 26-13, overconfidence nearly got the best of the locals, according to head coach Gwin Wood.
Moments after Skylar Cherry busted a one-yard run up the middle for a Red Devils’ touchdown, Taylor Edging returned Sam Curtis’ ensuing kickoff 71 yards for paydirt to pull the Kentuckians back within one score.
The Redmen suffered another setback when the Bombers recovered the onside kick that followed and began another offensive drive with Ricky Beard rattling a 5-yard run on first down.
Ballard Memorial quarterback Josh Boyrff carried for a 10-yard plus before a fumble was his team’s ultimate undoing. South Fulton’s Corbin Hawks fell on the loose ball that was dropped by the Bombers’ signal caller. The Redmen then stuck to the ground with Avent, Cherry and Tyler Morris all getting carries and protecting the football as the clock ran down.
“After we scored and went up by two touchdowns, our team celebrated a bit too much,” Wood said. “They came out quick and put one back on us, but luckily we settled back down.”
Ballard Memorial had taken an early advantage after Boyrff broke lose up the middle on a quarterback sneak for a 30-yard run to paydirt in the first quarter. Boyrff had a hand in the Bombers’ second touchdown as well with a nine-yard pass to Quinton Norment with just under a minute remaining in the first half.
Defensively, Cherry led SF with nine tackles while Shawn Pate had six stops in the triumph. George Garmon and Hawks each forced a fumble for the Redmen.
South Fulton returns to the gridiron Friday to host Fulton City in the annual showdown of “Twin Cities” teams.