When York advanced the football inside of South Pointe’s 20-yard line Friday night, the Cougars might as well have been in the red (and black) zone.
The Stallions (8-2, 5-1 in Region 3-AAAA) stuffed the host Cougars (8-2, 4-2) on consecutive trips in the third quarter en route to a 27-10 win that moves Strait Herron’s ball club into second place in Region 3-AAAA.
The Stallions’ offense scored once in each quarter, which proved more than enough considering their miserly defensive effort. Senior defensive end Matt Newman had an unofficial 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery to lead the way, but he deflected the attention from his own effort.
“We’ve gone through a lot of adversity this year, and just bouncing back from that adversity,” said Newman. “Coming in as the underdog and winning, that was great. Just have to thank all the coaches for making us work.”
South Pointe had 15 penalties compared to 13 offensive first downs, but through it all, the red and black defense, the identity of this team, held fast, especially with its shoulder pads pressed against the wall.
“Once they got down there our defense stood up, and you’ve got to be proud of the effort they put forth,” said Herron, whose team had three total stops in the red zone. “Those are big stops.”
The defensive numbers were impressive. South Pointe held a team averaging more than 43 points per game to 10; the Cougars came in racking up more than 170 yards per game on the ground but were limited to 49 on 32 touches, including 14 runs of negative yardage. South Pointe forced three turnovers, including two crucial late ones that helped zip the win shut.
Newman attributed much of that success to his defensive line cohorts and the coaching staff.
“We just read them pretty good. Plus, the coaches really did help out; they’re really smart.”
At the scoring end, quarterback Zaylin Burris paced the visitors’ steady and insatiable ground assault with 141 of his team’s 301 yards rushing. Senior Josh Brice added 83 on 18 carries and fullback Vinny Emmanuele 53 as South Pointe salted away the fourth quarter with metronomic pounding of the York defense.
“We were talking about that over headset, me and ‘Zap’ (assistant coach Mike Zapolnik), who really coordinates the run game,” said Herron. “We just kept pounding it.”
Burris, the sophomore thrust into a starting role midseason, produced arguably his best performance. Besides his success running the ball, which included carries of 22, 38 and 72 yards, he also threw three touchdown passes and didn’t turn the ball over.
York drove the field on the first drive of the game but Buddy Anderson’s 22-yard field goal narrowly missed the uprights. The Cougars still claimed the first lead though, Deshaw Andrews finding Kyron Schrouder on fourth down for a 19-yard touchdown pass. That would prove to be the highwater mark for the York offense on a damp night.
South Pointe answered quickly, Burris capping a sub-2-minute drive with a short pass to Kyle Brandt who took the pigskin 22 yards to the end zone. The 2-point run failed, but the Stallions grabbed the lead in the second period thanks to a pair of drive-extending penalties by the Cougars. After one such flag gave South Pointe a fresh set of downs, Burris floated a 17-yard teardrop into Deshawn Davis’ arms as he streaked into the end zone for six points and a 13-7 lead.
Down just six points, York moved into the Stallion red zone on each of its first two possessions in the second half but came away with nothing. Eric Westbrook broke up a fourth down pass on the first drive, and another fourth down pass fell incomplete after a Newman sack backed up the Cougars.
The Stallions seized on the mistakes. Burris ran 71 yards down to the 1-yard line, setting up Brice’s 1-yard smash to make it 20-7. Anderson hit a 33-yard field goal to cut the lead to 20-10, but Anthony Johnson’s 24-yard catch and run to the end zone with 5 minutes, 54 seconds left in the game sent the York faithful streaming to the exits.
South Pointe 27, York 10
YCHS – Kyron Schrouder 19 pass from Deshaw Andrews (Buddy Anderson kick)
SPHS – Kyle Brandt 22 pass from Zaylin Burris (Josh Brice run failed)
SPHS – DeShawn Davis 17 pass from Burris (Kyle Dix kick)
SPHS – Brice 1 run (Dix kick)
YCHS – Anderson 33 field goal
SPHS – Anthony Johnson 24 pass from Burris (Dix kick)
RUSHING SPHS: Josh Brice 18-83; Zaylin Burris 13-141; Vinny Emmanuele 6-53; Bree Minor 9-18; Devion Williams 2-6. YCHS: Ryan Moore 13-23; Deshaw Andrews 19-32; Thomas Wilkerson 1-(-1); Markel Castle 1-(-5).
PASSING SPHS: Burris 9-21-0-3; Rodney 1-1. YCHS: Andrews 16-36-2-1.
RECEIVING SPHS: Anthony Johnson 3-44; Kyle Brandt 2-35; Deshaw Davis 3-25; Nick McCloud 1-10; Eric Westbrook 1-18; Emmanuele 1-8. YCHS: Kyron Schrouder 5-83; Josh McCoy 5-78; Castle 3-57; Moore 3-21.
RECORDS SPHS 8-2, 5-1; YCHS 8-2, 4-2.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T