With South Fulton set to begin its run toward a playoff berth this Friday at Greenfield, the Obion Countians needed momentum in their corner.
South Fulton’s Jonathan Avent runs with quarterback Corbin Hawks (11) and fellow RB Holden McConnell (12) blocking during Friday’s win at Fulton County.
The Red Devils improved to 5-0 on the season Friday as they received a rousing ovation from their large contingent of fans after a 54-18 drubbing of Fulton County in Hickman.
The point total served up by SF on Friday was the team’s highest since its 55-6 triumph over Fulton City in 2003. Furthermore, with the win, this year’s Red Devils become just the fifth South Fulton team since 1950 to begin a season 5-0.
“We needed a victory like this to kick us into gear for a run at our ultimate goal — a playoff berth,” first-year SF skipper Kelly Spivey said. “We’re right where we wanted to be at this point in the season and, thanks to this win and all the points we put on the board, I think we have a little bit of momentum on our side.”
During the Red Devils’ most recent win, they again faced an unexpected quarterback as Shun Udley, who had been the team’s signal caller through the first four games, was moved to running back and Eric McClure took over as the team’s QB.
“I think that’s a sign that teams are worried about us when they change their quarterbacks and personnel like that when they play us,” Spivey said. “Of course, with our communities so close, I had heard that they were planning to make a change, so I wasn’t caught off-guard by the move.”
On Friday, another thing that probably didn’t surprise Spivey was the performance of Jonathan Avent.
The junior running back — who wasn’t at full strength during the Redmen’s beating of Bruceton in Week 4 due to bronchitis — totaled 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and he also made his way into the endzone on a 62-yard pass that he caught from quarterback Corbin Hawks.
Hawks had an impressive night under center as the former split end went 3-of-6 passing, but the most notable statistic was the fact that all three of his completions resulted in touchdowns.
The senior signal caller also had one carry to paydirt.
“Our passing game has gotten progressively better because our running game has been so good this year,” Spivey said. “When you have a ground game like that, it opens up the field for more passing plays and each time we took to the air tonight it seemed that their defense had came up enough that our targets were wide open.”
On Friday, SF had the Pilots (1-4) essentially put away by the end of the first quarter.
After a fumble on Fulton County’s first play from scrimmage that Jared Fowler recovered, the Red Devils started their first offensive series at the home team’s 46-yard-line.
Four plays later, Avent danced in from 15 yards away for his first touchdown of the evening.
After a quick three-and-out and subsequent punt by Fulton County, SF marched 48 yards with fullback Skylar Cherry capping the drive with a five-yard TD run.
SF picked up a muff on the ensuing kickoff with Alex Gallien recovering the miscue at the Pilots’ 32.
Five plays later, Hawks dashed into the endzone from 12 yards out on a perfectly executed inside veer.
The Red Devils’ first drive of the second quarter bogged down at the Fulton County 40 after the first three plays of the series netted no yards on two carries and an incomplete pass.
On fourth down, Hawks found Holden McConnell for what turned out to be a 40-yard touchdown toss that put SF up 27-0.
South Fulton’s last drive to paydirt during the second quarter was highlighted by back-to-back 16-yard gains by Avent. The speedy RB then capped the series and the Red Devils’ scoring summary for the first half with a 19-yard TD jaunt.
Just before halftime, Fulton County finally got on the scoreboard with what could be termed a cheap touchdown. As SF punter Jacob Wade was set to boot the pigskin on fourth down, he was hit and the ball wasn’t and roughing the kicker could have been called.
Instead, no flag was thrown and the Pilots eventually scored.
Each team had one score during the third quarter. For the Pilots, freshman running back LaDevin Fair dashed in from 13 yards.
Meanwhile, Avent was quick to answer as he hauled in the 62-yard touchdown pass.
In the fourth quarter, the Red Devils crossed the goal line twice, while Fulton County had Fair running to paydirt once more.
At the 7:10 mark of the stanza, Hawks hooked up with Chance Barnes for a six-yard touchdown pass in the flat. Fair’s 11-yard carry to the endzone came with 2:29 left, but the Red Devils had a parting shot.
Wade — the SF backup quarterback — slipped through on the veer play and he was off to the races on a 40-yard TD gallop.
Defensively, Hawks, Gallien and Cherry each had six stops, while Wade and Stephen Graves both were in on five hits.
South Fulton travels to Greenfield this week while Fulton County returns to the gridiron on Oct. 10 at Mayfield.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.