CHESTER — Recovering a missed handoff from South Pointe quarterback Devan Pearson and immediately converting the turnover into a 20-yard K.J. Dixon touchdown run brought a huge roar from the Chester crowd.
From that point early on Friday evening, however, all the noise came from Stallions fans.
South Pointe countered with an 89-yard kickoff return from Montay Crockett, setting the tone for a 37-point first-half explosion.
The Stallions went on to score on their next four possessions to cruise to a 44-19 victory to set up a Region 4-AAA championship showdown against York next week.
"The kickoff return was big," Crockett said, adding that the big special-teams play set the tone for the South Pointe dominance. "We came out ready and after falling behind early, that play gave us a lift."
Stallions coach Strait Herron also weighed in on the magnitude of the kick return.
"It was huge; it got us back in the game after the turnover on our first play from scrimmage," Herron said. "We felt our defense came out and stopped them on their first possession, but we lost momentum with the turnover."
South Pointe (8-1, 4-0) rolled up 372 yards of total offense, with 175 rushing and 197 through the air. Quarterback Devin Pearson connected on 12 of 17 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Stallions' attack.
Chester, which got 138 rushing yards from Dixon, did generate momentum in the second half with two fourth-quarter scores. That, said coach Anthony Sterling, was important heading into next week's road game against Fairfield Central with the winner grabbing the final playoff spot in the region.
"The big thing is that we have to put this game behind us," Sterling said. "We are learning every game and we just have to allow this loss to make us stronger. We now have to get ready for Fairfield Central.
"And I thought that it was very important for us to put points on the board in the second half. It was really a mental thing for us in the first half, but we played a good football team in South Pointe."
NOTE: Tickets for the South Pointe-York game set for Friday at District Three Stadium will be on sale 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday at the South Pointe High lobby. Ticket prices are $6 each and only 6,000 will be available. York High will sale tickets in the athletic department's office. Also, tickets will be available to purchase 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at District Three Stadium box office.
SOUTH POINTE 44, CHESTER 19
C -- K.J. Dixon 20-yard run (Joey Ford kick)
SP -- Montay Crockett 89-yard kickoff return (Malik Jamerson)
SP -- Devan Pearson 25-yard pass to LaKeenan Scruggs (Logan Yard pass to Manzey Miller)
SP -- Miller 3-yard run (Logan Ard kick)
SP -- Pearson 23-yard pass to Brandan Barber (Ard kick)
SP -Tay Hicklin 37-yard pass to Scruggs (Ard kick)
SP -- Pearson 22-yard pass to JaRyan Jennings (Ard kick)
C-- Devan Rambert 31-yard run (run failed)
C-- Rambert 4-yard run (run failed)
RUSHING -- South Pointe: Devin Pearson 5-(-2), Brandan Barber 10-81, JaRyan Jennings 2-22, Manzey Miller 8-43, Malik Jamerson 2-24, Logan Ard 1-17, Tay Hicklin 2-(-4), DiAmond Miller 5-(-7), Josh Brice 2-11. Chester: Tommy Sanders 11-(-10), K.J. Dixon 15-138, Adrian Buchanan 1-(-3), Derrell Rambert 11-53.
PASSING -- Chester: Tommy Sanders 3-10-1-57. South Pointe: Devan Pearson 12-17-0-160, Montay Crockett 1-1-0-37, Manzey Miller 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING -- Chester: Melvin Jackson 1-12, Jemarcus Moore 1-18, Shyheim Wilson 1-24. South Pointe: LaKeenan Scruggs 2-62, JaRyan Jennings 3-42, Montay Crockett 4-20, Logan Yard 2-18, Brandan Barber 1-19, Tay Hicklin 1-36.
RECORDS -- Chester 5-4, 1-3 in Region 4-AAA, South Pointe 8-1, 4-0.