South Pointe’s 14-7 win over Lancaster was no thing of beauty, no highlight-filled game for the ages, but that didn’t bother Stallion coach Strait Herron Friday night.
In a matchup of state-ranked 3A teams, No. 10 South Pointe (5-3, 3-0 Region 3-3A) jumped out to a 14-0 first half lead, then held off the No. 9 Bruins’ comeback attempt late in the game.
“We’re just happy for the win,” said Herron, whose team hosts another state-ranked team, 7-1 Broome, next week. “Proud of the defense, they stood up three times, and that was the difference in the game.”
Lancaster (6-2, 2-1) moved the ball inside the South Pointe 30 four times but came away empty on three of those trips, twice turning the ball over on downs and fumbling on the third.
“When you get inside the red zone, you’ve got to come away with some points,” said Lancaster coach Bobby Collins. “I thought our second-half defensive effort was pretty good. Offense came back out second half and did what we needed them to do, take some time off the clock and run the football, but we didn’t punch it in, and that kind of hurt us right there.”
If there were any highlights to salvage from the night, they came from Lancaster receiver Jay Hood, who caught nine passes for 166 yards. On Senior Night, the 12th-grade receiver snagged passes with his fingertips and with his toes dragging the sideline, but none for touchdowns.
It was Hood’s 17-yard catch along the left sideline that got Lancaster a first and goal at the South Pointe 6, and Bruins quarterback Keendarius Truesdale was able to smash in from two yards out several plays later to cut the visitors’ lead to 14-7, with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the game.
South Pointe picked up several first downs but ran out of steam in the Lancaster end, leaving the hosts with one last chance to write a memorable ending. Truesdale threw to Hood for 17 yards and a first down near midfield, but the Stallions’ pass rush forced Truesdale out of the pocket on the last play of the game, and though he scrambled for 25 yards, it was way too short of the end zone. That was par for the game, South Pointe harassing Truesdale into hurried decisions.
“We were just making sure he didn’t get out of the pocket, and he didn’t throw good passes so we don’t lose,” said Dontae Thompson, who had one of the Stallions’ several sacks. “We just kept contain, so we could get him down.”
It looked like the visitors might blow the game out in the first half. South Pointe took the opening kickoff and went 59 yards to take the lead. Quarterback Greg Ruff, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 211 yards, sneaked for a yard on a fourth and 1 at the Lancaster 13, before Jay Feaster punched in from a yard out several plays later to make it 7-0, after B.T. Potter’s kick.
Lancaster went three-and-out on its first possession, which lasted a total of 44 seconds. That drive summed up the Bruins’ struggles in the first half as they were held to just 114 yards.
South Pointe doubled its lead in the second quarter. Ruff hit first-down passes to Shaheem Sanders, Paul-Michael Potter and DeShawn Davis, the latter a 17-yard play that set up a first and goal. Shawn McCullough polished off the drive with a 3-yard run to make it 14-0.
Lancaster’s best chance to get on the scoreboard in the first half came as the clock was about to expire. Kadarius Wright’s 20-yard run got the Bruins a first and 10 at the South Pointe 12, but they sputtered from there. Truesdale was stuffed on fourth and five from the 7-yard line and South Pointe ran out the first-half clock.