BOURBON – The recipe has been simple for Southwood. Score. And score some more. And score again.
Its prowess to put points on the board was on display big time Friday night, as Triton couldn’t stop the Knights’ offensive machine in a 39-20 final in the Class 1-A football sectional.
Southwood scored on five of its first seven possessions – in the first half – putting the pressure on Triton to keep up. And the Trojans couldn’t. Averaging 36 points per game coming into the night, the Knights put that exact total on the board heading into the lockerroom.
Carson Blair continued to air the ball out, tossing a 32-yard touchdown to Blake Martz on Southwood’s first possession, though Martz made three Triton defenders miss on the pinball session towards the endzone. Blair also found Peyton Trexler for a 33-yard pass, setting up his own 18-yard touchdown run, then dumping off a pass to Jeffrey Finicle for three yards. Blair was making it look very easy up 22-0.
Blair would add a 31-yard scoring run and a seven-yard pass to Martz in the first half, the final touchdown coming with just 30 seconds on the clock to give the Knights a healthy 36-13 lead.
“Their quarterback is phenomenal and obviously he’s a good athlete,” noted Triton head coach Ron Brown of Blair. “More than that, I noticed he was calling a majority of plays by himself. He wasn’t taking calls from the sideline. A few times he shook the coach off because he had something. That shows you just how intelligent he must be.”
Triton had kept it respectable in the first half on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bo Snyder to Delano Shumpert and a 47-yard bomb to Zac Pitney, which had cut the lead to 29-13 at the time of Pitney’s strike.
The Trojans also had put some serious pressure on Southwood in the third quarter, but a key mistake may have been the break Southwood needed. Facing a third and one at the Southwood 15, a miscommunication by Triton’s offense caused a bad pitch on the running play, drawing a seven-yard loss. An incompletion on fourth down put no points on the board, at which the score sat at 36-20.
Triton had sliced the lead when Rigo Butler converted a fake punt to keep Triton moving, and Snyder took a keeper and zipped 34 yards to paydirt. A huge sack by Braden Kreft on the next possession forced a Southwood punt, which had the Trojans in business.
Triton would punt on its next two possessions after the turnover on downs, and a 27-yard field goal by Parker Mays in the fourth quarter put the game, and Triton’s season, on ice.
“I can’t ask of anything more from what my kids came in and did in the second half,” Brown said. “One or two plays here and we’re maybe looking at a one score game and real tight down the stretch. Unfortunately, those things don’t always happen.”
Blair, who threw for 233 yards and rushed for 105 more, passed the 3,000-yard mark in total yards with his output Friday night. On the season, Blair has thrown for 2,745 yards and 37 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Drew Stichter had one of those in the first quarter on Southwood’s second drive.
Finicle led Southwood with 60 yards receiving, Trexler had 51 yards on four catches and Martz hauled in four balls for 50 yards. On the season, Trexler has 1,052 yards and Martz 729 yards receiving. Matt Cox added 22 carries for 90 yards.
The Trojans had Snyder throw for 118 yards, but was just 9-34 on the night. Shumpert pulled in four of those passes for 46 yards, Pitney finishing with 47 yards, all on the touchdown catch. Rigo Butler, resembling the great Ron Dayne at Wisconsin, carried eight times for 50 yards, but Triton was held to just 58 rushing yards on 18 carries.
“I felt this team was too good to be done,” Brown said of his team. “I still feel like that. But unfortunately in the game of football and in life, people win and people lose. We lost tonight, and we lost to a team that played better than we did.”
Triton closes its season at 2-9 overall. Southwood (8-3) advances to the Class 1-A Sectional No. 43 championship game to host LaVille (10-1), which rolled over Culver 42-14.