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SF takes Cougars to edge en route to OCSS four-peat

SF takes Cougars to edge en route to OCSS four-peat
SF takes Cougars to edge en route to OCSS four-peat

South Fulton’s Hunter Wade uses a stiff-arm during Thursday’s Rebel Bowl victory.
South Fulton was sharp on the edges during the Rebel Bowl on Thursday.
As a result, the Redmen are Obion County School System Middle School football champions for the fourth consecutive campaign after a 36-14 triumph in Troy.
With H’crest loading six or seven men in the box to stop SF’s well-documented inside running attack, the Red Devils attacked the edges in a stark play-calling contrast from when the two teams met on Sept. 16. The Redmen opted to pound the pigskin up the middle in that 38-30 triumph.
“Our philosophy all season has been to take what our opponent gives us and work with that,” South Fulton mentor Jeremy McFarland, whose team has a 20-game OCSS win streak, said. “I expected them to put six or seven men in the box to stop us inside and I thought if we could get the first block on the edge that we could move the chains and have two ways of beating them.
“We got those blocks and our backs ran hard to give us the outside running game that we haven’t had all season.”
All totaled, Red Devil running back Hunter Wade, who was named the team’s most valuable offensive player, rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. SF fullback Cory Pinion was the smash to Wade’s dash with 51 yards and three short scoring carries among his 15 hand-offs.
South Fulton (7-1) also forced a trio of turnovers, picking off a pair of Hillcrest passes and forcing a fumble.
Pinion, who was SF’s defensive MVP, had one of the picks at a pivotal point in the first quarter after the Cougars (4-3) had forced a turnover on downs.
His interception was on the first offensive play ran by Hillcrest and it set up an eventual South Fulton touchdown. Pinion did the honors on said score and also took in the two-point conversion to give the Red Devils an 8-0 advantage when the first quarter ended.
“That play didn’t decide the game, but it certainly sticks out to me,” Cougar coach Justin Truett said. “We were feeling good after the stop, but that all quickly disappeared and they went up.
“They’re the best team we’ve seen all season and we played the worst we have all season. That certainly tipped the scale in their favor.”
In the first half, SF had stellar clock management — allowing H’crest just six offensive snaps from its spread set.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils were able to run 25 plays in the first two quarters.
Pinion’s other two carries to paydirt were among those snaps. The Red Devil power back dove in from two yards out with 3:35 left in the second quarter. He also bulled his way across the goalline on a four-yard run with 32 seconds left before intermission
The lone Cougar score of the first half was sandwiched between the two second-quarter Devil TDs. Cain Aaron found Austin Harris — who was honored as H’crest’s offensive MVP — in the middle of the field for the 70-yard touchdown.
Down 22-6 at halftime, Hillcrest had an opportunity to narrow the deficit. Bryce Warner, who totaled 880 rushing yards for the season, broke free for what appeared to be a 61-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter.
However, a block in the back 10 yards behind the runner negated the six-pointer.
Warner was picked off by Chris Morris on the next play after the penalty. Then, South Fulton marched down field with an eight-play drive that climaxed when Skylar Grissom hooked up with a wide open Jacob Pannell for a 21-yard touchdown connection.
In the fourth quarter, each team had one score as Wade darted 13 yards to paydirt with 5:13 remaining and Warner — who split time as quarterback and a running back for Hillcrest — found Jonathan Dobson for a 17-yard aerial TD.
Red Devil Anthony Cox also came up with a highlight reel quality play in the fourth — a sack of Aaron that resulted in a 10-yard loss.
Defensively, SF had Wade with a team-best 10 stops, while Dalton Long had seven takedowns.
Hillcrest’s Hunter Brady — the Cougars’ defensive MVP — totaled 14 tackles, while Warner had the same amount of stops.
The game was the final in a South Fulton Middle School jersey for 14 eighth-graders including Cox, Grissom, Wade, Pinion, Pannell, Pete Winters, Bennett Perry, Evan Robertson, Gatlin Hopkins, Jon David McIntyre, Mason Pullen, Malik Hartsfield, Aaron Hollingsworth and David Parnell.
Likewise, Cougars Brady, Warner, Dylan Porch, Hunter Woody, Tristan Decker, Ben Holland, Steven Aldridge, Nick Stroud and Dearius Browning played their final game at the junior high level.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at

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