By Tim Chambers
Taking the line from of an old Charlie Daniels song, the South did it again on Friday night inside of Paul McEwen Stadium leaving a large fan base from Colonial Heights proud they were Rebels. The eighth ranked team in 4A defeated pesky Johnson County 42-12 in what could be the last time theyll meet on the football field.
The Longhorns will join the 3A reclassification ranks next year while South will move up to play in 4A.
It didnt take long for the Rebels to set the tone in this contest. All-State quarterback Dylan Wieger hooked up with Blake Christian for a 54-yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage.
Christian would add a 10-yard run to make 14-0 with 9:33 remaining in the second quarter.
South is a very good football team with lots of speed, said Johnson Countys head coach Don Kerley. Theyre right there with Elizabethton, but tonight we played much better than we did down there. Our kids didnt back down and the effort was there. The score could have been closer if you take away the two they scored early and the one there at the end. But Im proud of our kids for the way they came out here and competed. We were in this game for a while.
The Horns showed their toughness by bouncing back to score with 1:59 remaining in the half. And they almost added another had a yellow flag not been thrown.
Warren Kerley hit Chase Phillips with an 18-yard pass play that set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Cody Bailie to close the deficit at 14-6.
South wasted no time getting those points back with double-trouble once again being the main factor.
Wieger connected with Christian on passes of 17 and 33 yards before plunging in from a yard out. Brad Burdines third PAT made it 21-6 with .53 seconds still showing on the clock.
Johnson County nearly spoiled the Rebels celebration by using their dynamic duo to quickly move down field.
Kerley hit sophomore Dakota Wright with a 37-yard pass across the middle and again for 17 yards two plays later.
They saw a touchdown pass get wiped off because of holding with .13 seconds remaining. Senior lineman Tristian Hill (9 tackles) felt like that was the turning point in the game.
We had them on the ropes after we hit those two long passes, said Hill. But the holding call cost us a touchdown and the momentum. You cant do stuff like that when you play a good team like South. It absolutely killed us. We never could get back in the game after that.
Hill was right on his assessment.
Wieger fired touchdown passes of 36 and 24 yards to Josh Booker in the third quarter. That pretty much closed the deal on what had been a very good football game during the first half.
Wieger ended the night completing 13-for-25 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for another.
But all that didnt damper the Longhorns spirit.
They continued to give maximum effort despite being down 35-6.
Kerley teamed up with Wright on a two-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-12.
The senior signal caller ended the night by completing 17-of-43 passes for 170 yards and two scores. Wright caught six balls for 112 yards.
The Rebels tacked on a meaningless touchdown late in the game. Coach Kerley wasnt happy about it either.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.
By Tim Chambers