By KEVIN WEAKS
South Fulton had more than its share of troubles getting started on offense. The Red Devils weren’t much better at making stops on defense.
SF managed just 137 yards of total offense while allowing Gleason to pile up 421 total yards in a 26-7 loss to the Bulldogs Friday night at Red Devil Stadium.
“They moved the ball and drove it down our throats to start the game,” SF head coach Kelly Spivey said. “But, after that, we got the ball back for our offense, and we scored on defense. We just have to give our defense a little rest. We gave them too many chances.”
The Bulldogs used a solid mix of run plays all night, alternating with counters, sweeps and off-tackle power plays to put up 339 yards on 55 attempts.
It began early for Gleason, too.
After forcing a three-and-out, Gleason covered 57 yards on seven rushing plays, the last a 32-yard scamper by Kyle Williams for a 6-0 lead.
SF’s defense then settled in, though, forcing punts on Gleason’s next two possessions. The Red Devil offense, however, could not capitalize, punting three more times.
“After the first series, I thought our defense got better,” Spivey said. “Not great, but better. We did enough on defense to keep us in the game. We just couldn’t anything going. They had too many possessions and hit a couple of big ones on us.”
The Devil defense came up with a reward for its efforts as Zack Vaughn grabbed an errant Bulldog pass and rumbled 20 yards for a score off the interception at 8:34 of the second period.
J.P. Fowler’s point-after kick gave the Redmen a 7-6 lead.
That advantage held the rest of the half as SF stopped Gleason on downs at the Devils’ 19. It did not, however, hold up very long in the third quarter.
Williams broke loose on a 37-yard TD run at 9:38 to go ahead 13-7.
SF appeared headed in for a score on the ensuing possession as quarterback JaQuay Garmon, in the shotgun most of the first half, went under center and handed off to Fowler four times and Hunter Wade once in moving the ball 44 yards to the Gleason 12.
SF was stopped on three run plays, and Ryan Prince dropped a Garmon pass at the goal line to end the threat.
“That was big,” Spivey said. “If we go down and score and then get the extra point, we go up (14-13), but we stalled out. They made a play to back us up and make us throw. We just didn’t take advantage of our chances.”
Gleason then traveled 79 yards before being stopped itself. It didn’t take long to make up for that missed opportunity, though.
After forcing SF to punt, Gleason scored on its first snap on a 47-yard run by Ian Legens with 11:37 to play in the game.
Yet another SF punt, its seventh of the game, set up the final score as Chris Copeland scored on a six-yard run with 8:38 to play.
The two fourth quarter scores put on display a Gleason dominance that was already evident on the stat sheets.
In outgaining SF by 284 total yards, the Bulldogs run 19 more offensive plays (62-43), picked up 17 first downs to seven for the Devils and punted just twice.
Williams had more yards than the Red Devil team with 189 rushing yards and 24 more on one reception.
South Fulton managed just 75 yards on 22 rushing attempts, which in turn forced the Red Devils to throw more than planned. The results were not very good as SF, plagued by passes that were either off-target or simply dropped, saw Garmon complete just 5-of-21 for 62 yards with an interception at the end of the game.
“If we can’t run the ball, we can’t win,” Spivey said. “We can’t throw that many times and expect to win.”
SF falls to 2-4 on the season and will host Greenfield in a District 14A game on Friday.
The Yellowjackets ended a 15-game losing streak with a 25-21 win over Bruceton.
Sports reporter Kevin Weaks can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.24.12