South Pointe coach Strait Herron has been concerned with his team and its 2-3 start to the 2014 season. With last week’s open date, he had two weeks to mull it over. Thursday night’s 35-21 win over Union County in the Region 3-3A opener was just what Herron and the Stallions needed.
“The players and coaches know that I’ve been concerned,” Herron said after the game. “We still have some things to work on, but this got us back to playing ‘South Pointe football.’”
South Pointe junior linebacker Frankie Martinez got the Stallions going in the first quarter. He stripped the ball away from a Union County receiver and ran 35 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Herron had put Martinez in at linebacker due to injuries. Martinez usually plays on offense as a running back.
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“I knew it was going to get the team hyped,” Martinez said. “I get hyped whenever we make plays like that.”
South Pointe (3-3, 1-0 Region 3-3A) went on to convert two more turnovers into touchdowns. In all, the Stallions picked up four sacks on the night, had several pass pressures and at least one pass batted down.
The Stallions led 21-14 at halftime and continued to bear down on defense in the second half.
Union County was ineffective on the ground, gaining just 12 yards on eight carries after the intermission. Only a couple scrambles by quarterback Brandon Thompson resulted in positive yardage on the ground.
South Pointe “rushed the passer and we couldn’t run it,” Union County coach Steve Taneyhill said. “They whipped us up front.”
Union (2-4, 0-1) scored easily to start the game. The nine-play drive ended with a 27-yard touchdown pass from De’arrius Smith to Demarcus Brown. Smith and Thompson combined to throw for 276 yards on the night.
South Pointe picked up the pace offensively in the second quarter. Going no-huddle, the Stallions went on a 13-play, 86-yard scoring drive. Greg Ruff threw to Nick McCloud for the score. Ruff completed 23-of-27 for 164 yards and two touchdown throws. He also scored on a 25-yard run.
Stallions’ senior linebacker Dontae Thompson had some big defensive plays. He batted down a pass from Union quarterback Smith on a fourth down play in the first quarter. He sacked Smith in the second quarter to force the Yellow Jackets to punt.
Union County sophomore wide receiver Shi Smith finished with 11 catches for 110 yards. Smith already has a scholarship offer from South Carolina.
South Pointe hosts Chester next week.