Southland continues streak, breezes past Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta
Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By MICHAEL MURRAY
ATLANTA – The Southland Academy football team has done it again after traveling to Atlanta on Sept. 16 to take on the Holy Spirit Prep Cougars in the Raiders’ final non-region match-up of the 2017 regular season.
The Raiders dealt another significant defeat (62-6) to their foes in the game, boosting the Americus team’s overall record to 6-0 on the season.
The Southland crew is scheduled to open Region 3-IAAA competition in Americus on Sept. 22, celebrating homecoming as they put their undefeated record on the line once more against the Tiftarea Panthers.
As Southland fans have come to expect this season, the Raiders came out guns blazing in the first quarter, opening the scoring in the road tilt two minutes into the action when Saige Batten capped off a two-play, 46-yard drive with an 18-yard rush for a touchdown. Southland place kicker, Zane Hines, then booted the ball between the uprights for the first of what would turn out to be eight spot-on PAT attempts in the game.
Just over a minute later, Southland’s Clay Owens kept the visiting fans cheering when he blasted past the Cougars’ defenses for a 53-yard touchdown run. Another precise boot from Hines left the Raiders up 14-0 with 8:49 on the clock in the initial quarter.
The scoreboard went silent for the next six and a half minutes of play before the Raiders took off on an eight-play, 53-yard drive that culminated with Luke Law pulling down a pass from quarterback, Alex Roach, and adding another six points to the Raiders’ tally with just over two minutes left to play in the first period.
The Raiders weren’t finished, however. With only five seconds remaining in the first quarter, Landon Law contributed a 55-yard punt return to score yet again and leave Southland ahead 28-0 heading into the second frame.
The determined Raiders didn’t take their comfortable lead for granted and continued to rack up insurance points throughout the second quarter.
At the 10:37 mark in the second quarter, Southland’s Townsend Ray kept the momentum up with a 45-yard touchdown run, further padding the Southland advantage. Brody Shattles followed by capping off a three-play, 42-yard effort with an eight-yard run for yet another six-pointer with 7:52 left to play in the first half.
After the Cougars added their only touchdown of the game, Shattles struck again three minutes later, completing another three-play drive with a 14-yard excursion into the end zone.
With only 3:11 left on the clock in the first half, Southland’s Hunter McCain got in on the action with a two-yard rushing touchdown that completed a three-play, 20-yard push from the Raiders.
When the clock wound down, the Raiders retired to the locker room for the halftime break with a 56-6 advantage on the scoreboard.
After the halftime festivities were concluded, several of Southland’s reserve players hit the field to gain valuable experience.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Southland backup quarterback, Nathan Duke, wrapped up an 11-play, 42-yard drive with a one-yard keeper to break the plane and bring the game’s final tally to 62-6 in the fourth frame.
Owens set the pace for the Raiders in the victory, totaling 101 yards on the ground on five carries. Ray followed closely with 78 yards on a trio of rushes. Shattles added 22 yards on his two totes of the game and Batten contributed 18 yards on his sole carry of the match.
Logan Morris, Parker Weldon, McCain, McCartney Cummings, James Griffin, Landon Law, Freddie Updike, Adam Smith, Owen Exley, Nathan Duke, and Andrew Bell also added rushing yardage to the Southland victory.
Roach completed two of four pass attempts, with Ray at the receiving end of one (23 yards) and Luke Law pulling down the other (18 yards).
In total, the Raiders amassed 314 total yards (273 rushing) while the team’s hard-nosed defenders held the Cougars to only 105 all-purpose yards.
Southland will return to the gridiron on Sept. 22, hosting the Tiftarea Panthers in the Region 3-IAAA opener. On Sept. 29, the Raiders will hit the road for Albany to take on the Deerfield-Windsor Knights.