South Point Captures Third Place in Conference with 36-34 Win
By: Anthony Perkins
Belmont – The South Point Red Raiders (4-2, 3-2) hosted the Chase Trojans (4-2, 3-2) for the final game of the 2020/21 football season on Friday night with a lot riding on this final contest. Chase needed a win against South Point and an RS Central (4-2, 3-2) loss to Burns (4-2, 4-1) to secure a third place conference finish and a possible spot in the playoffs. But more about that later.
South Point kicked off to Chase to start the game but a Chase fumbled the return and South Point’s Tyson Riley fell on the loose ball to give the Red Raiders excellent field position at the Chase 23. Three plays netted only one yard and Carson Smith’s 40-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left to leave the Trojans unscathed by their mistake. The Trojans went to work from their 20 and took only five plays to cover the 80 yards to paydirt and they took their first lead on a 41-yard pass from quarterback Kaden Hampton to Kiylan Miller. Two possessions later, following a South Point fumble, the Trojans scored again with another Hampton to Miller connection, this time for 26 yards and it looked like the Trojans might run away with the game with only thirty-two seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The South Point offense woke up in the second quarter and rattled off two touchdowns, both coming on the heels of fullback Tyson Riley on runs of 2 and 3 yards respectively. Carson Smith had the point after attempt partially blocked after the second South Point touchdown to leave the score at 14-13 with 4:19 left in the first half.
The Trojans offense came back to life following the two Red Raider scores and Taivon Derisma snagged a 21-yard toss in the back of the end-zone from Hampton and pushed the Trojans out to a 20-13 lead with only 48 seconds remaining in the half. The extra point attempt failed and kept the score at 20-13.
If Chase thought the Red Raiders would just run out the clock to end the first-half they made a huge mistake. Two plays after the ensuing kick-off the Red Raiders found the endzone again when Will Rhinehart connected with Ethan Simmons on 42-yard pass over the middle after he got behind the Trojan secondary. The Trojans took possession at their fourteen after the ensuing kickoff, however they fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage. By then the clock had ticked down to less than ten seconds and Carson Miller came on to nail a 25-yard field goal to give the Red Raiders 23-20 half time lead.
Ten points in less than a minute is a great way for any team to end the half and the Red Raiders came out pumped up in the second half and they had the first possession. South Point used over half of the third quarter to ground out another touchdown with Will Rhinehart covering the last 12-yards on a quarterback keeper. Smith added the point after to push the Red Raider advantage to 30-20.
The Trojans were not to be outdone and answered on their next possession when Cameron Wilkins scored on an eight-yard run to make the score 30-27 in favor of South Point just before the third quarter ended.
When the fourth quarter started the Red Raiders must have felt like they had to score in a game that had turned into a touchdown shoot-out between these two teams. South Point answered the call with a drive that took over seven minutes. Tyson Riley rang the bell again with a one-yard run that pushed the Red Raiders out to a 36-27 advantage.
Once again, the Trojans rose to the challenge by using only three and a half minutes to go 80-yards and reel the Red Raiders back within striking distance at 34-36. Hampton hooked up Derisma for 38-yards to cap the drive and posted what turned out to be the final score.
On their next possession the Red Raiders drove the ball to the Trojans one yard line an appeared to be poised to deliver the killer blow on a first and goal. However, a bad exchange between the quarterback and the fullback resulted in a lost fumble and the Trojans had one final attempt to pull out the game and their season.
Starting at their own two-yard line, with only one time out remaining and only 1:30 left on the clock they went to work by completing a 36-yard pass play on first down. A four-yard run and a knocked down pass followed. On the next play the ball was stripped from the quarterback but he managed to fall on the ball to set up fourth and nine. Hampton then completed a 13-yard pass to Logan Houser and followed that with a 13-yard run to the South Point 35. The last play of the game saw a third and thirteen pass attempt fall to the ground at the South Point two yard line and the Red Raider defense had preserved a 36-34 South Point win.
After all of the dust had settled in this game and the other games around the conference the Red Raiders finished alone in third place in the conference with a 4-2 conference record. Both RS Central and Chase finished with 3-3 conference records. Shelby finished the season as conference champs and Burns finished in second place and along with Shelby will receive and automatic bid to the playoffs.
South Point coach Adam Hodge said after the game, “I don’t know if we have a chance to make the playoffs (as a wild card) but we will just have to see if our record is good enough. If it’s not, we finished the way you want to see your team end up a season. Two big wins against two great teams!”
For the game South Point moved the chains 16 times. A solid rushing attack netted 320 yards on 50 carries, and quarterback Will Rhinehart completed two of two passes for 94 yards for a total offensive output of 414 yards. South Point lost three fumbles and they were penalized three times for 35 yards. The time of possession for the Red Raiders was 25:32
Chase moved the chains 17 times and gained 145 rushing yards on 30 carries. Quarterback Kaden Hampton completed 17 of 28 passes for 305 yards to bring their total offensive output to 450 yards. The Trojans lost two fumbles and they were penalized six times for 42 yards. The time of possession for Chase was 22:28.