By KEVIN WEAKS
Both Obion Central and South Gibson had numerous chances to score a lot of points.
Only the Hornets did.
South Gibson scored quickly off Rebel turnovers and never let Central keep momentum for very long in a 41-14 win Friday night at Medina.
SG celebrated homecoming by improving to 6-0 on the season, while the Rebs saw their two-game winning streak stopped and fell to 2-5.
Giving up 40 or more points in a game for the fourth time this season came down to the Rebels giving South Gibson too many chances and not taking advantage of enough of their own.
Obion Central had five turnovers — three interceptions and two fumbles — while failing to score on four trips inside the Hornets’ 20-yard-line.
“You can’t turn it over,” OC head coach Shawn Jackson said. “We have to protect the ball a lot better. And, we got down in the red zone four times with no points. You can’t do those things.”
South Gibson’s scores off three of those turnovers were sudden and devastating.
Two came on consecutive possessions in the second quarter and turned a scoreless tie into a two-possession lead for the Hornets.
A fumble by quarterback Blake Berner was recovered by SG after the ball had rolled backward 13 yards to the Rebels’ own 30.
One play later, Hornet quarterback Carlos Walden hit wide receiver Airan Reed deep along the sideline for the game’s first score at 7:45 of the second quarter.
Walden then got the ball back three plays later as he picked off his Rebel counterpart on the OC side of midfield and ran the ball back to the 10.
Again, just one play was needed as Reed got inside his defender on a quick slant and caught a Walden pass for another score with 6:21 to play in the second.
“(Reed) is a great player,” Jackson said. “They had him out there on the left and just threw it up to him, and he made plays. The quarterback’s a better thrower than most people give him credit for. He made big plays with the sudden changes for touchdowns.”
Those sudden changes in South Gibson’s favor turned what had been a pretty good defensive slugfest on both side into a offensive show, with SG staying in the spotlight most of the game.
Prior to the two scoring plays, South Gibson had shown it could move the ball but simply failed to finish drives.
A 22-yard by Quincy Walden was wasted on the Hornets’ first drive as the home team punted from OC’s 35, then SG was stopped on downs and drove from its own 12 to the Rebel 23 only to see a botched snap ruin a 40-yard field goal try.
Central, meanwhile, had netted a mere seven yards on 14 plays in falling behind 14-0. The Rebels then fought back after the two Hornet scores with a big scoring drive of its own.
Starting at his own 22, Berner guided the Rebels on an 11-play drive that actually covered 83 yards as Central overcame a false start penalty.
The OC signal-caller had passes of 10 and nine yards to Blake Rudd and Ben Jones, respectively, and also called his own number on a 28-yard run. He finished with a seven-yard TD toss to Rudd, Caleb Walker’s point-after kick getting OC within 14-7 at 2:13 of the first half.
The Rebels’ new-found momentum lasted just five plays. Rodney Napper had a 12-yard run, and Carlos Walden carried for 21 yards and threw to Quincy Walden for 33 more. Carlos Walden then had his second two-yard run of the drive, scoring with 40 seconds remaining in the half for a 21-7 lead that SG took into intermission.
All three touchdowns in the third period came in a cluster of 31 seconds.
It all began after Carlos Walden had been stopped for a five-yard loss at SG’s 15. He handed off to Quincy Walden on the next play, and the running back bounced outside to his right and then broke several tackles downfield en route to an 85-yard score at 7:21.
Trent Mann then grabbed the ensuing kick and sprinted through the Hornet special teams for an 82-yard score.
“We fell down on two kickoff returns and get in bad field position. Then, when we do what we’re supposed to, we get a touchdown,” Jackson said. “You have to catch kicks in high school football.”
His team within 27-14, Jackson called for an onside kick. It turned into another sudden change for the Hornets as SG recovered and then Carlos Walden found Reed again for a 50-yard scoring catch-and-run with 6:50 remaining.
Down 34-14 and holding SG to a missed field goal, the Rebels looked were turning momentum back in its favor again by driving from its own 20 to the South Gibson 16 on eight plays.
OC’s third interception of the game was not only a drive-killer but basically a game-ender, too, as Jordan Cobb stepped in front of a Berner pass on the goal line and ran 100 yards for the game’s last score 24 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Hornets piled up 479 yards of offense, led by the Walden brothers as Quincy rushed for 165 yards on 10 carries and Carlos completed 6-of-11 passes for 153 yards. Reed’s three receptions went for scores as he totaled 90 yards.
Josh Floyd was solid filling in for injured Bryce Warner in OC’s backfield, rushing for 96 yards on 17 carries, while Rudd caught nine passes for 104 yards for the Rebels. Despite the three picks, Berner hit on 12-of-21 passes for 139 yards.
As a team, Central gained 323 yards and had 21 first downs.
Published in The Messenger 10.1.12