ROCK HILL — South Pointe football coach Strait Herron didnt tell his players what they did wrong or right, or give them a pep talk during the half.
His Stallions were up 35-7 over Cane Bay in the opening round of the Class AAAA Division II playoffs a game that ended up 45-7 and Herron had more important business.
Near the end of the first quarter, Stallions assistant coach Calvin McCullough got a phone call and was told his mom had passed away.
I spent part of the half talking with coach McCullough, Herron said. Then I talked to the players and told them what had happened. I told them to go out and play hard in the second half because thats what he wanted.
The Stallions kept it basic in the half, keeping the ball on the ground on most snaps and depending on their defense to preserve the lead. There were a couple of passes, one a 42-yard touchdown to PJ Heath.
And in the fourth quarter after a drive stalled, Logan Ard came on easily drilled a 33-yard field goal. The defense did its job, and thanks to an offensive explosion in the first half, the Stallions cruised to victory and set up a second-round home game against York next Friday.
South Pointe, No. 4 in the state, moved to 11-1. Cane Bays season ended at 6-6.
Pendergrass, South Pointes diminutive running back, was hot as red as the Stallions uniforms.
He scored four touchdowns in the first half, with 125 yards on just 10 carries. He got a few touches in the second while Herron subbed in his reserves.
The Stallions also did it on the defensive side of the ball, limiting the Cobras to 50 yards rushing and 38 passing on four completions and three first downs. The Cobras scored in the first half, but it took a big play to get them past the 50-yard line for the first time.
Romante Frazier returned a second-quarter kickoff 72 yards to the Stallions 19. On first down, quarterback Devin Kilgore kept the ball and ran around the right side for the touchdown.
Stallions quarterback Devin Pearson was also hot, completing 13 of 15 passes for 153 yards. He ended the game 17-of-20 passing with 239 yards and two TDs.
Pearson had a highlight TD pass to Heath, who had seven catches for 90 yards.
Heath ran down the right sideline and leaped high just in bounds when the ball reached him. Heath went high in the air over a couple of Cane Bay defenders and came down in bounds for a 21-yard touchdown.
Pearson also threw to scoring pass to Heath in the third quarter.
People say I cant throw and I wanted to prove them wrong, Pearson said. It came down to those five guys up front and my receivers. All of us were working well together.
So now it comes down to another game with York and Im going to treat it just like its any other game. We want to make it to the state championship, and we can win our next two and get there if we play error-free football.
South Pointe 45, Cane Bay 3
SP -- CJ Pendergrass 36 run (Logan Ard kick)
SP -- Pendergrass 11 run (Ard kick)
SP -- Pendergrass 3 run (Ard kick)
SP -- Devin Pearson 21 pass to PJ Heath (Ard kick)
CB -- Devin Kilgore 19 run (George Anderson kick)
SP -- Pendergrass 38 run (Ard kick)
SP -- Pearson 42 pass to Heath (Ard kick)
SP -- Ard 33 field goal
RUSHING: Cane Bay: Shon Sweatt 7-(-1), Davon Higgins 7-24, Alex King 5-16, Ramonte Frazier 4-4, David Welch 2-1, Kilgore 5-38. South Pointe: Pendergrass 11-127, Pearson 12-31, Josh Brice 2-20, Devonta Blake 2-4, Timothy Franklin 1-2, (30) 2-11.
PASSING: Cane Bay: Sweat 0-1-0-0, Kilgore 6-14-40-0. South Pointe: Pearson 17-20-237-0, Devonta Blake 2-3-31-0.
RECEIVING: Cane Bay: Higgins 2-(-1), Maurice Wesley 3-34, (7) 1-7. South Pointe: Heath 9-136, Kyle Brandt 2-9, Trinity Shannon 1-9, Deshawn Davis 3-63, Daquan Robinson 1-4.
RECORDS: Cane Bay 6-6; South Pointe 11-1
Barry Byers 329-4099