It took South Pointe a little while to warm up. Once they did, though, there was no stopping the Stallions.
South Pointe shook off some early struggles, shutting down the homestanding Chester Cyclones to take home a 56-18 Region 3-3A victory.
Chester limited South Pointe to just two first-quarter possessions, cashing in on two of its three to take a 12-0 lead and leave the Stallions on their heels. As the first quarter ended, South Pointe started a drive at its own 35, and a 10-yard Greg Ruff pass to Josh Wilkes marked the beginning of 21 straight second-quarter points for the Stallions.
Stallions coach Strait Herron told his team after the game that the slow start was on him. “I’ve just got to get more involved,” Herron said. “I’ll do that from now on.”
South Pointe continued its run into the third quarter, scoring 56 points within a 20-minute span of game action.
“We did a good job at halftime. They were in real wide splits offensively, and defensively, we tried to stay in our three-man front, and it just wasn’t working,” Herron said. “We went to a four-man front, and we were in a lot better shape. We made some good adjustments. Offensively, we just kind of got into a rhythm, finally.”
Chester again found the end zone late in the game, as Pha’leak Brown surged in from 15 yards out with 4:21 to play. The Stallions held the Cyclones at bay from there, though, putting away the key victory.
Chester forced a Greg Ruff fumble at the Stallion 49 early in the second quarter, setting up the Cyclones with their first possession to start in South Pointe territory. The Cyclones were unable to capitalize, punting after three plays. The Stallions then took the ball on a methodical 87-yard drive, with a Voshon St. Hill 5-yard carry, giving the visitors a 14-12 lead just over halfway through the second quarter.
After those touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter, the South Pointe defense locked down the Cyclones. The ensuing nine possessions ended in five punts, two turnovers on downs, an interception and the halftime break. The defensive effort was not lost on Herron.
“The defense stepped up and they played a little bit harder,” he said. “Also, the adjustments that were made were a lot simpler. Our guys understood what we were trying to do. We tried to keep everything bottled up and get there and make plays. The defense did a great job.”
Ruff turned in a nearly flawless performance for the Stallions. The senior connected on 21-of-25 passes for 282 yards and five touchdowns. Ruff also rushed five times for 30 yards.
“That’s normal for him. That’s what we need out of him,” Herron said. “ Once we made those changes, I think the defense got us going, and the offense followed right along.”
Receivers Quay Brown and Josh Wilkes caught two of those touchdown strikes apiece. Brown hauled in six passes for 114 yards, while Wilkes caught nine for 76.
“I thought Josh had another breakout game. He’s incredible. He’s an athlete like – you just don’t get them every day,” Herron said. “Quay Brown, he’s just consistent, as always. He had the big run, big play (59-yard touchdown reception), and that’s great for him.”
South Pointe hosts Lancaster next week in a matchup with huge implications in Region 3-3A. Herron told his team he would be back at work at 6 a.m. Saturday to prepare for next week.
“I haven’t seen anything on them (Lancaster), except for the little bit they played against Chester (last week),” Herron said. “We know they’re good. They’re better than they have been, and they’ll be fired up. We’ve just got to get ready to play.”