For South Pike, the emotion of last week's win over Northeast Jones to open the playoffs carried over to Friday as the Eagles jumped ahead early and never looked back, rolling past the Pass Christian Pirates 48-6 at home.
“We are fully healthy and we are a good football team when all our parts are clicking,” South Pike head coach Brinson Wall said. “Defensively we played outstanding and offensively we got off to a fast start running and throwing the ball. We played our best game of the year tonight."
The Eagles (13-0) jumped out the gates early needing only five plays to cover 67 yards on their first offensive possession. A 36-yard strike from Dontavious Turner to Alex Adams gave the game its first score. Christopher Royal added the two point conversion putting the Eagles up 8-0 with 9:36 to go in the first quarter.
A few possessions later Pass Christian got one of their few breaks on the night due to a shanked punt by the Eagles giving the Pirates the ball on the South Pike 39.
Eagle safety Felix Varnado gave the momentum back to his team, intercepting Pass Christian quarterback Dustin Allison at the 20 yard-line and returning it to the Eagle 40 yard-line.
“They ran a post and I jumped the route,” said Varnado describing his team-leading fifth interception of the year.
Eagle standout junior Kameron Reynolds was unleashed on the next possession. Turner hit Reynolds on a go-route for 27 yards putting South Pike at the 33. They connected again on the next play for a 33 yard score. A failed two point conversion kept the score at 14-0 with 3:00 left in the first.
Down two touchdowns, the visiting Pirates found the spark they needed when Dylan Necaiase snatched and errant throw by Turner out of the air seizing possession of the ball on their own 29-yard line.
The Pirates couldn’t muster anything on offense and were forced to punt three plays later giving South Pike the ball at the Pass Christian 43.
The Eagles quick-strike offense wasted no time as Turner rushed it in from 43 yards out on the next play for another Eagle score putting South Pike up 20-0 to start the second quarter.
Pass Christian found no offensive success in the second quarter as the South Pike defense had its way with the opposing offense.
On the second drive of the quarter, Adams was the recipient of a 51-yard lob from Turner putting the Eagles at the 18 yard-line. Turner turned in his second rushing score of the night with a 14-yard burst giving the Eagles a 26-0 lead.
South Pike score again as the second quarter expired when Kadarious Jackson capped off a 8-play drive with a 5-yard rush. Brandon Johnson ran in the 2-point conversion increasing the advantage to 34-0 heading into the break.
The Eagles defense made the first big play of the second half, forcing a Pirate fumble on the first possession. Senior Brandon Dean recovered the fumble and returned it 6-yards to paydirt. A Johnson rush for the 2-point conversion gave South Pike a commanding 42-0 lead with a little over 10:00 left in the third quarter.
For the remainder of the contest, the reserves got their chance to shine.
Royal scored on a 11-yard run to close out the scoring at 48 near the end of third.
Pass Christian managed its only score late in the fourth on a 13-yard pass play.
Turner led South Pike with 10 carries for 135 yards and two scores. He completed 4-of-12 passes for 147 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Kadarius Jackson had eight carries for 71 yards and a touchdown.
The win and a victory by Poplarville over North Pike nearby in Summit, sets up a rematch with the Hornets, who defeated the Eagles in the third round last season.
“Poplarville put us out last year and left a bad taste in our mouths," Wall said. "We didn’t have all our parts, but we have all our parts this time and we will see how it goes.”