Second-half aerial assault leads South Pointe past Chester

bmccormick@heraldonline.comAugust 31, 2012 

South Pointe football coach Strait Herron had a question for his guys after Friday night’s win over Chester: “Does anyone have any idea how we can get better in the first half?”

Herron’s answer was work harder in practice. For the second straight week, South Pointe (3-0) overcame a lackluster first half, this time shutting out visiting Chester (1-2) 30-0. Herron’s team scored all 30 points in the second half to break open a scoreless slug-fest.

“The way we practiced last week, that was kind of what I was expecting,” Herron said afterward. “We didn’t have a very good week. Our guys knew we didn’t, and I don’t know if we underestimated Chester or if it was just a bad week, but we bounced back in the second half.”

The two teams combined for just 56 total yards of offense in the first half, but the home team made the right adjustments during the intermission, in particular going to the air when the ground game was swallowed up by Chester’s sizable defensive front. Stallions quarterback Devin Pearson was 0-4 passing in the first half, but connected on 8-9 attempts in the second half for 156 yards and three scores.

“They’re big and they’re strong and they get off the ball,” said Herron. “I told them at half time, our best bet is to just keep playing hard and wear them down and it’ll happen for us.”

Seniors P.J. Heath and Anthony Johnson led the Stallions’ receiving effort in the second half, the latter grabbing three balls for 85 yards and two touchdown, much to Herron’s delight.

“We were waiting for that opportunity to use our two big receivers and they came through for us.”

The game wasn’t too dissimilar from South Pointe’s 39-16 win over Blythewood the week prior. Against the Bengals, South Pointe only led 16-10 at halftime, before out-scoring the hosts 23-6 in the second half. Despite their first half struggles, the Stallions have still only allowed 26 points and 132 rushing yards in three wins. Junior defensive tackle Zeek Rodney has been a huge part of the Stallions defensive stinginess.

“We know that our offense struggles sometimes, so we want to hold them to as least points as possible,” he said. “At halftime coach tells us to not get our heads down and to come out hard. Sooner or later the offense gonna’ start scoring, and they’re gonna get tired from us beating them up.”

After a punchless first half trying to run the ball, in which Chester held the Stallions to just 19 yards on the ground, Herron’s team turned to the skies in the second half. On the first drive, Pearson found DeShawn Davis for gains of 17 and 12 yards before feathering in an 18-yard touchdown pass to Heath in the left corner of the end zone to open the scoring. South Pointe’s defense snuffed out a fake punt by the Cyclones on the next possession, and took over at the Chester 35. A play later, Pearson hit Johnson for a 35-yard touchdown connection to make it 13-0.

A Chester punt led to a 25-yard field goal by Logan Ard, and after South Pointe held on fourth down against Chester’s offense, Pearson continued the aerial fireworks with a 40-yard bomb to Johnson to make it 23-0 and put the Cyclones out of their misery.

Despite the second half deluge, Herron had a warning for his team.

“You give good teams a chance to hold on and you get in trouble later on, so we’ve got to get better in the first half.”

South Pointe 30, Chester 0

SCORING SUMMARY

SPHS -- P.J. Heath 18 pass from Devin Pearson (Logan Ard kick)

SPHS -- Anthony Johnson 35 pass from Pearson (Ard kick no good)

SPHS -- Ard 25 field goal

SPHS -- Johnson 40 pass from Pearson (Ard kick good)

SPHS -- C.J. Pendergrass 2 run (Ard kick)

TEAM STATISTICS

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING CHS: Derrell Rembert 10-37; Lorenzo White 12-50; Tommy Sanders 3- -19; Jamarcus Moore 1-14; Marcus Wright 1- -7; Quan Caldwell 4- -6; SPHS: Devin Pearson 3- -17; C.J. Pendergrass 18-54; Brandon Barber 8-44; Josh Brice 3-24; Davonta Blake 3-11.

PASSING CHS: Quan Caldwell 4-12-22-1; Tommy Sanders 1-3-8. SPHS: Devin Pearson 8-13-156; Davonta Blake 2-2-13.

RECEIVING CHS: Melvin Jackson 1-1; Jarrett Rembert 2-15; Jamarcus Moore 1-6, Malik McCullough 1-2, Lorenzo White 1-12; SPHS: Anthony Johnson 3-85; DeShawn Davis 3-46; P.J. Heath 2-27; Eric Westbrook 1-8; Daquan Robinson 1-5.

RECORDS

CHS 1-2; SPHS 3-0

Bret McCormick 329-4032

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