CERRO GORDO — Jamearos McLeod and Darius Wright dominated West Columbus in the running game on Friday night.
But after combining for six of South Robeson’s seven touchdowns in a 48-8 win on Friday night, both of the Mustangs’ running backs turned the attention away from themselves.
“Our offensive line is everything,” said Wright, who logged a game-high 148 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns in the victory. “You have to take care of the big boys. We try to keep them encouraged and up. It’s great and we got it done.”
McLeod, who also scored three times and added 134 yards on nine carries, echoed his senior teammate’s remarks.
“I have to give a shoutout to the big boys for blocking,” the sophomore back said. “We couldn’t have done it without them. We’ve been practicing hard all week.”
Trailing 8-0 early in the first quarter, the Mustangs (1-2, 1-0 TRC) reeled off 48 unanswered points against the Vikings (0-3, 0-1 TRC), outscoring the hosts 22-0 in the second quarter to carry a 28-8 lead into the break.
Controlling the clock with its Wing-T offense, South Robeson saw both of its primary running backs feast on West Columbus’ defense throughout the night in the Three Rivers Conference opener for both squads.
“All of our (running) backs ran hard and they blocked a lot better. In the second and third quarters, we controlled the clock,” said South Robeson coach Clay Jernigan.
“Some nights it’s on and some nights it’s off, but tonight I thought we played more as a team. We stressed on running them this week because we’re low on numbers and it was a little cooler tonight so the big boys didn’t get as hot. My coaching staff was on target. Everything was going smooth. It’s easy when it does that.”
McLeod served as South Robeson’s big-play back on the night, scoring on runs of 19, 29 and 21 yards. His 19-yard run early in the second quarter gave the Mustangs the lead the good.
Wright did his damage between the tackles, knifing his way into the end zone on runs of 5, 3 and 9 yards.
Senior all-purpose player Darrius Brown added the other score, scampering in from five yards out to give South Robeson a 34-8 lead midway through the third quarter.
“We had to let people know we were here. It feels good,” Wright said.
McLeod added: “When we lost against Lake View and Union, we knew we had to step up our game and not let people down.”
And South Robeson’s defense was just as impressive. After giving up a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, the Mustangs stifled the Vikings, earning multiple tackles for loss on the night.
“We adjusted,” Jernigan said. “We started taking away the outside and it worked out for us.”
Jernigan couldn’t have asked for a better start to conference play with St. Pauls set to visit Rowland next Friday.
“I told our guys that us, West Columbus and East Columbus are the only 1-A schools in our conference,” Jernigan said. “This was big because of playoff possibilities. I want to beat the 2-A teams, too, but we knew this one was one of the bigger ones for us.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.