SPARTANBURG — South Pointe coach Strait Herron did not have to be very convincing to not let his team get too complacent with a 15-0 halftime lead over Spartanburg on Friday night.
All he had to do was to point back to last season when the Stallions blew a 21-7 fourth-quarter advantage, only to see the Vikings rally for 23 unanswered points for a nine-point victory.
That eventually was the lone blemish for the Stallions, who went on to win 11 in a row to capture the Class-AAA state title.
This year, there was no second-half letdown as South Pointe was able to seal the deal with a 33-3 road win at Gibbs Stadium on the Wofford College campus in Spartanburg.
Herron said that a newspaper article, which printed a pre-game preview which mentioned the Vikings comeback last season, was all that was needed as a reminder.
It was a good article that we got from online from a newspaper up here in Spartanburg, Herron said. We had that article just before they came out of the locker room.
It talked about how they scored 21 unanswered points to win the game last season.
Sure enough, the Stallions appeared determined not to let history repeat itself. Two third quarter safeties from a blocked punt and snap out of the end zone was followed by a C.J. Pendergrass 4-yard touchdown run, putting South Pointe in total control, 24-0, after three quarters.
Quarterback Devin Pearson, who ran for 88 yards, put the finishing touches on the rout with a 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. A late Vikings field goal prevented the Stallions from their second straight shutout victory.
Other than the outcome, the contest turned into a Isiah Zeek Rodney showcase.
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound defensive lineman did it all. First, Rodney got the Stallions on the board by scooping up an errant pitch from Vikings quarterback Banks Wise and waltzed three yards into the end zone.
After sprinkling in a couple of tackles for loss, Rodney took a direct snap in punt and displayed nifty footwork on a 31-yard run, giving the Stallions a crucial first down on an eventual second-quarter scoring drive.
It was fourth and two and I asked coach could I call it, Rodney said. I felt that I could outrun the guy who they had on the corner.
Furthermore, Rodney, who had two sacks and several other stops for loss, broke through the line and blocked a punt, resulting in a safety. Later, he was the lead blocker as the H-back in the Stallions offense during Pendergrasss 4-yard touchdown run.
All I wanted to do was to make plays for the team, Rodney said. We remembered that those guys beat us and cost us a perfect season last year. We were hiked up because of that.
Herron described it as just another day in the offense for the dominant junior defender.
He is outstanding; he has been that way for us all season, said Herron. He is just a junior and works real hard for everything that he is getting and will get.
The win improves the Stallions to 4-0 on the season.
South Pointe 33 Spartanburg 3
SP Zeek Rodney 3-yard fumble return (Devin Pearson pass to Kyle Brandt)
SP CJ Pendergrass 13-yard run (Logan Ard kick)
SP Rodney blocks punt, which sailed out the end zone for safety.
SP Pendergrass 4-yard run (Ard kick)
SP Punt snapped out of end zone for safety.
SP Devin Pearson 5-yard run (Ard kick)
SHS Cameron Brown 20-yard field goal
RUSHING South Pointe: Devin Pearson 11-88, CJ Pendergrass 7-61, Brandon Barber 6-27; Devin Starnes 1-5; Josh Brice 6-45, Davonta Blake 3-28, Zeek Rodney 1-31. Spartanburg: Simeon Byrd 7-(-7), Deuntrelle Goudelock 10-7, Banks Wise 12-(-14), Dana Barnes 1-7, Derek Brannon 1-7, Jamie Bowe 8-44.
PASSING South Pointe: Devin Pearson 14-19-0-123. Spartanburg: Banks Wise 10-14-0-112; Derek Brannon 7-14-0-75.
RECEIVING South Pointe: Anthony Johnson 4-36, Deshawn Davis 3-26, P.J. Heath 5-37. Spartanburg: Demarius Lyles 7-74, Jamie Bowe 3-27, Daquan Means-Campbell 5-54, Dwight Rogers 2-28.
RECORDS South Pointe 4-0, Spartanburg 1-2.