South Fulton’s Cody Tatum and J.P. Fowler sandwich Fulton City’s Rondell Bransford.
Fulton City got down and South Fulton got away on Friday evening.
With just a 20-7 advantage at halftime, the Red Devils blazed a big-play trail in the second half, rushing for four touchdowns that spanned over 25 yards each en route to the 47-6 triumph.
“We had some great blocks in the second half and that made our backs look especially good,” SF coach Kelly Spivey said. “I thought J.P. (Fowler) ran the ball extremely well tonight. He was tough to take down and, when they’d try to trip him up with an arm tackle, he just ran right through them.”
Fowler did have two of South Fulton’s aforementioned big touchdown runs in the second half — the first being a 54-yarder on the team’s first offensive play of the third quarter and the second a 27-yard scamper in the fourth.
Additionally, Chance Barnes broke free around end for a 56-yard scoring dash in the third canto, while Khiry Lewis took off for a 79-yard trip to paydirt in the fourth frame.
On the flip side, the Bulldogs never quite recovered after a pair of special teams misfortunes in the second quarter.
SF’s Khiry Lewis blocked Lerinzo Ruiz’s punt attempt to begin the second quarter and Fulton City’s downfall.
Moments later, the Red Devils turned a 7-6 lead into a 14-6 advantage when Willy Kneuppel bulled in from four yards away with 11:01 to go before halftime.
Then, Taverius James, Taylor Martin and Lewis all got into Ruiz’s face when the snap on another second-quarter punt was bad.
The Redmen picked up that fumble and great field position, which resulted in a two-yard dive to paydirt by Cody Tatum to gave the visiting team a 20-6 halftime advantage in what was otherwise a close game up until that point.
“I sound like a broken record, week in and week out,” Fulton City head coach Brad Rozzell said. “South Fulton didn’t outnumber us by many players. It’s just an issue of us putting our heads down. We were in this game at halftime. We’d moved the football and even forced a punt, but our hearts weren’t into it after we got down.’
The Red Devils (2-2) marched downfield on their opening drive of the evening, needing just five plays before JaQuay Garmon dove across the goalline on a quarterback sneak.
Tatum booted the first of his five successful PATs as SF went ahead 7-0 with 9:37 remaining in the first.
However, Fulton City (0-4) rushed back, compiling an eight-play, 60-yard scoring drive that was capped when Rondell Bransford dashed to the endzone on a 34-yard run to get the host team within a tally after the point-after fell short.
From there, the long-time rivals swapped possession of the pigskin for the remainder of the first quarter. Lewis blocked Ruiz’s punt on the first play of the second period to set up Kneuppel’s eventual TD.
Later, after a quick FC three-and-out, the fumbled punt opened the door for another quick SF score.
Down 20-6, the Bulldogs got a couple first downs on their next drive, but South Fulton was able to stop the march at its 18 when Devon Jackson was taken down two yards shy of the first down marker on a fourth-and-five reverse.
Nonetheless, FC still showed defensive life, forcing South Fulton to punt just prior to intermission.
After the break, Fowler’s first touchdown run seemed to be the straw that broke the Bulldogs’ backs.
Defensively, Fowler led the way for SF with nine tackles, while Kneuppel had eight stops and Tatum was in on seven takedowns.
Fulton City’s top tacklers were Bransford and Bubba Kirby, with five stops each.
The Red Devils travel to Humboldt this Friday, while FC entertains Todd County Central.