South Point fullback, Ryland Etherton, and quarterback, Diontre King, had big nights for South Point in their 42-21 dominant win over Statesville. But it was the defense that set the tone early. Deep in their own territory, the Greyhounds went to a lateral play that fell to the turf. The Red Raiders’ Nick Farmer picked up the loose ball and took it 32 yards for the touchdown.
Statesville could not get anything going on their next drive. South Point, on the other hand, had no trouble moving the ball down field on their first drive. Etherton extended the Red Raiders’ lead to 14-0 with a 12-yard dash into the end zone. The Greyhounds responded early in the second quarter. Nakendrick Clark got the Greyhounds on the board with 13-yard touchdown run. Zach Nicholson’s kick cut South Point’s lead to 14-7.
But the Red Raiders kept pouring it on. Etherton made it a two-score game again with a five-yard touchdown run. Thomas Lempereur’s kick made it 21-7. South Point looked like they were going to go up by three scores before the half when Tyler Hall intercepted a Travis Ramseur pass and returned it to the one-yard line. But a personal foul penalty brought it back to the 37 yard line. South Point opted to just melt the clock and go into half-time up 21-7.
The second half would keep getting better for South Point and keep getting worse for Statesville. On their second drive of the second half, the Red Raiders went up by three scores with an eight yard run by King. The Greyhounds cut the lead again with a 13-yard run by Ramseur on a quarterback keeper.
But each time Statesville showed a spark, the Red Raiders knocked it out by scoring more points. Etherton responded with a one-yard touchdown plunge. The score was 35-14 at that point. The Greyhounds kept fighting. Ramseur’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Tyrek Morrison and Zach Nicholson’s extra point kick cut the lead to 14 points again.
Statesville attempted an onside kick but it was unsuccessful. The Red Raiders scored on that drive with another Etherton one-yard run.
Ryland Etherton led South Point with 215 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Diontre King amassed 104 yards and a touchdown. Thomas Lempereur was six-for-six on his extra point kicks.
The Red Raiders also avenge their playoff loss to Statesville back in 2012. The Greyhounds won 27-21.
“We came out and we got a bad break to start out the ball game with a little disputable call there on the backwards pass that gave them seven. That gave them momentum and we never quite recovered.” said Statesville head coach Randall Gusler “They (South Point) have a really good football team. They play really hard and you can’t make mistakes. We made a couple mistakes tonight that gave them some touchdowns and that was the difference in the ball game. I’m really proud of the way our guys fought back. We didn’t lay down and quit.”
“I think this is the best effort. I think we’re peaking at the right time. This is the best football game we’ve played.” said South Point head coach Mickey Lineberger “They have run ten kickoffs and punt returns for touchdowns. We did a great job punting. We did a great job kicking off. We hit all our extra points. Our special teams unit is strong. Defensively, that was a great way to start the game by getting that lateral, picking it up and scoring. Statesville has so many weapons. You are not going to shut people like that out. We are not going to find anybody with more athletes than what they have.”
“It’s big! Our seniors were freshmen and they remember that night, 27-21, we had five turnovers. We did not play our best football that night.” Lineberger said about avenging the loss to Statesville three years ago “This season has been about taking care of business and settling scores and we’ve been doing pretty good at that. I am proud of our guys and our coaching staff for getting them ready to play.”
South Point will play West Rowan. The Falcons beat the West Henderson Falcons 41-19. West Rowan is another team the Red Raiders have history with. The Falcons whipped South Point 35-7 in 2008. The Red Raiders played them again in the playoffs two years ago. South Point won that matchup 28-7.