September 2, 2010
Season Opener Slips Away from SCR-I in Second Half
Give a team four chances to score from only five yards out, and most football fans will take those odds in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for the Scotland County faithful, the Tigers were denied on four straight run plays on the first possession of Friday night’s season opener at Salisbury, and then never got another chance like that.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, with a little help from a costly Salisbury penalty. The Panthers appeared to have stopped SCR-I, forcing a three and out. But Salisbury had 12 men on the field on the punt, giving the Tigers a first down.
SCR-I looked poised to take advantage of the break. Brock Bondurant ran for a first down and then connected with Rod Sears on a pass play to move the chains again. But a pair of yellow flags on the Tigers stalled the drive and had Scotland County forcing fourth down and eight yards to go.
But Landen Holt came up with a nice catch on pass from Bondurant, breaking away from the defender before being pulled down at the five yard line setting up first and goal.
The Tigers had four shots at a score, and appeared to get in on a third down quarterback sneak by Bondurant, but the officials ruled him down just inches from the goal line. Salisbury stuffed SCR-I on fourth down and took over on downs.
Scotland County did get into the end zone on the next snap, but to no avail. The SCR-I defense stuffed a Salisbury run attempt and Bondurant appeared to strip the ball carrier scampering into the end zone with the apparent fumble. But the officials ruled the runner was down, despite a whistle never sounding prior to the apparent fumble.
The Panthers pounded the ball between the tackles on the remaining series, pushing the SCR-I defense near the breaking point. The Tigers finally held and forced a punt.
SCR-I went three and out on offense and punted away to start the second period.
The home squad put the first points of the contest on the board with 7:22 left in the first half.
Jake Latamondeer capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The drive was fueled predominantly by the rushing of #21 Jeremiah Jackson. The junior racked up 102 yards on 13 attempts in the first half.
Scotland County failed to advance the chains again and nearly had the punt blocked as the wheels were close to coming off for the Tigers.
Once again key penalties on Salisbury proved costly. A long pass play from Austin Francis to Jackson was called back on a flag. But the Panthers got a big part of those yards back when Francis hit Josh Kelley over the middle. But the Tigers defense held. Bondurant smelled out a screen play and dropped the receiver in the backfield for a loss.
The Tigers were inches away from tying the score when Rod Sears read a bubble screen play and jumped the route. Only a high throw prevented an interception and an easy return for the Tigers. Sabe Sears then broke up the fourth down pass attempt to get the Tigers one last shot at offense.
It proved to be a blank, as SCR-I was able to move the chains just once before punting the ball back to Salisbury with just eight seconds left in the first half.
Andy Garrett made sure Salisbury could not add to its lead, sacking Francis before he could unleash a pass down field as time expired.
The close contest quickly got out of hand for Scotland County in the second half. Salisbury wasted little time adding to its cushion, as Jackson scored on a 15-yard run with 10:28 left in the third period to make it 12-0.
After the Tigers went three and out on offense, the Panthers went right back to work. Wyatt Henke broke a big run on a counter play, with only the speed of Rod Sears saving a touchdown. That set up Jackson for his second score of the night, as he punched it into the end zone from two yards out with 4:32 left on the clock expanding the lead to 18-0.
The Panthers got the ball back as Latamondeer picked off a pass attempt across the middle and returned it to midfield. Francis then connected with Kelley on a pair of pass plays, the later being a four-yard TD toss that made the score 24-0 with 2:54 still remaining in the third quarter.
SCR-I failed to move the chains on the next possession, punting the ball back to Salisbury, and setting up the final score of the evening. Jackson capped off a short drive with a 30-yard TD run with 10:03 left in the game. The PAT kick made it 31-0.
Sabe Sears gave SCR-I fans something to cheer about as he returned the kickoff all the way to the 39-yard line. But the Tigers could not convert on fourth and one and gave Salisbury the ball back on downs.
The two teams turned the contest over to the second squads. Salisbury ate up much of the remaining clock with a long drive before stalling out near the end zone.
That allowed Zach Miller to record a couple solid runs as the sophomore took over at quarterback and had rushes of nine yards and 25 yards before time ran out.
Scotland County struggled to put together an offensive series after the opening drive. The Tigers managed just six first downs in the game, with the only two recorded in the second half coming on the game’s final two plays.
Miller finished with a team best 36 yards on two tries. Sabe Sears was held to 16 yards on just four carries and Rod Sears had 14 yards on four attempts.
Bondurant completed five of 13 pass attempts for 66 yards and one interception.
Jackson led Salisbury with 162 yards and three TDs on 21 carries. Henke racked up 104 yards on just eight attempts. Latamondeer had 65 yards and a score on nine attempts. Francis completed five of 11 passes for 82 yards and a TD.
Stone led the Tigers defense with 11 tackles. Rod Sears made 10 stops while Sabe Sears was credited with nine tackles.