The first 20 minutes of the Friday night's game between Nation Ford and South Pointe were tightly contested, full of big plays and costly mistakes by both teams.
The final 28 minutes featured plenty of big plays and costly mistakes, too, but the big plays all belonged to South Pointe, and the costly mistakes landed with Nation Ford.
The result? A 55-7 victory for South Pointe.
"We weren't in school today, and that's always a concern," South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll said. "We told them before the game today, let's break the mystique of not playing well when we don't have school."
It took a little while, but the final score says that goal was accomplished. The entire Region 4-AAA game shifted within a span of two minutes.
After a couple of flags negated a long punt return by Devin Pearson, the Stallions marched into Nation Ford territory before yet another penalty -- they had nine for 77 yards in the first half alone -- left the Stallions facing a third-and-18 from their own 47.
Junior quarterback Tay Hicklin avoided a pass rush, buying a few seconds for wideout Tay Smith to slip behind the Falcons' defense.
Hicklin stepped up and unleashed a beautiful spiral that landed softly in Smith's hands. Moments later, the Stallions had their first lead, 14-7, with 3:48 left in the half.
"I thought we played pretty well in the first half," Nation Ford coach Rusty Jester said. "Aside from the couple of fumbles and the one deep ball, I felt we played about as well as we could have. They wore us down physically in the second half, and started getting to our quarterback."
The second half was all South Pointe. They scored touchdowns on a 23-yard pass and a 1-yard run. Jadeveon Clowney, listed by most recruiting services as the nation's best high school player, had a 97-yard run, a 58-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and a 36-yard interception return.
SOUTH POINTE 55
NATION FORD 7
NF - Nick Damm 8 pass to Jake Williams (Gary Pence kick)
SP - Jadeveon Clowney 58 fumble return (Landon Ard kick)
SP - Tay Hicklin 53 pass to Tay Smith (Ard kick)
SP - Hicklin 1 run (Ard kick)
SP - Hicklin 23 pass to JaRyan Jennings (Ard kick)
SP - Hicklin 1 run (Ard kick)
SP - Clowney 97 run (Ard kick)
SP - Garrick Mackey 62 run (kick failed)
SP - Trey Mackey 36 interception return (Ard kick)
RUSHING - Nation Ford: Jo Jo Williamson 12-51, JJ McCullough 6-5, Thomas Condron 7-(minus-22), Daniel Jackson 2-1, Will Visbeck 2-11. South Pointe: Tay Hicklin 18-113, Malik Jamerson 7-21, JaRyan Jennings 5-27, Montay Crockett 5-14, Jadeveon Clowney 2-97, Jalen Massey 2-13, Brandan Barber 1-1, Logan Yard 1-5, Jarvis McCrory 1-1, Garrick Mackey 1-62.
PASSING - Nation Ford: Thomas Condron 12-33-2-151. South Pointe: Tay Hicklin 4-10-1-119.
RECEIVING - Nation Ford: Nick Damm 6-81, Will Ford 2-21, Jake Williams 2-18, Jo Jo Williamson 1-21. South Pointe: Keith Harris 2-33, Tay Smith 1-53, JaRyan Jennings 1-23.
RECORDS - South Pointe 6-1; Nation Ford 3-4