Pep­perell shuts down Rebels

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - From Staff Re­ports

The Pep­perell Dragons had lit­tle to play for, but wrapped up the reg­u­lar sea­son with a con­vinc­ing 38-8 win against Har­al­son County on Fri­day night in Tal­lapoosa.

The Dragons (7-3, 3-2 Re­gion 5-AAA) al­ready had locked up the No. 3 spot in their re­gion, but still rolled past the Rebels (1-9, 0-5). The team was mostly led by the de­fense and spe­cial teams, which ac­counted for nearly half of the team’s points.

“I thought our of­fense sput­tered all night long,” Pep­perell coach Rick Hurst said. “That’s just kind of the way it’s been all year.

“Our spe­cial teams and de­fense were ready, but of­fen­sively, we just kind of stopped.”

The of­fense started off well, scor­ing on its first play from scrim­mage on a 70-yard re­verse touch­down pass from se­nior re­ceiver Chris Mackey to sopho­more quar­ter­back Trevor Thomas.

Ju­nior ev­ery­man Hunter Chas­tain got the sec­ond score with a 60yard punt re­turn for a touch­down to make it 14-0.

Later in the sec­ond quar­ter, se­nior Ja­cob Smith blocked a Har­al­son punt, re­sult­ing in a safety. On the en­sue­ing kick­off, Chas­tain went 65 yards to the house again to give the Dragons a 23-0 lead at the half.

“You take those two scores away and it’s a lot closer,” Hurst said.

Har­al­son scored a touch­down in the third off a blocked punt of its own, but Pep­perell re­sponded. Thomas hit sopho­more run­ning back Tae Ham­mond for a 30-yard touch­down pass, and a two-point con­ver­sion made it 318. Ham­mond would fin­ish the blowout in the fourth, scor­ing on a 40yard touch­down run to bring the game to its fi­nal score. More than any­thing, Hurst was proud of his de­fense for stay­ing tough for all four quar­ters.

“Our de­fense was on the field a lot against an of­fense that was very un­pre­dictable at times,” Hurst said. “I feel like we had a great plan go­ing in, and I though we ex­e­cuted well all night.”

With the No. 3 seed in the re­gion, Pep­perell will play at Jefferson next week for the first round of the play­offs. Jefferson fin­ished its reg­u­lar sea­son 9-1 and 5-1 in re­gion 8-AAA, with its only blem­ish a dou­ble-over­time loss to re­gion cham­pion Oconee County.

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