The South Pike Eagles and Amite County Trojans took to the field in Liberty Friday night both looking to bounce back from season opening losses the previous week. After a lightning delay the Eagles used a strong defensive performance and running game to cruise to a 42-6 win over the Trojans.
South Pike (1-1) received the opening kickoff and wasted no time getting things started with Kam Reynolds breaking off a 69-yard run down to the 1 before punching it in from there to give South Pike an 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Amite County (0-2) was forced to punt which the Eagles' Marquis Brown blocked. Qualin Lipscomb then scooped-up the ball up and raced 15 yards for a touchdown. Tyger Bateaste added a 2-point conversion pushing the Eagles' lead to 14-0.
The two defenses managed a few stops before the Trojans fumbled a punt and gave the Eagles a short field. Senior quarterback Chris Royal found the end zone from 4 yards out and with the two-point conversion from Bateaste, South Pike found itself up 22-0 heading into the half.
The Trojans defense gave a solid performance in the first half but were plagued by turnovers offensively.
“You can’t make mistakes like that and expect to win, it puts unneeded pressure on your team and it’s hard to recover from them," Amite County head coach Reginald Lumpkin said.
Amite County received the second half kickoff and couldn’t kick the turnover bug as they fumbled the return giving the Eagles a short field to work with again.
The Trojans' woes continued on offense as they lost another fumble.
South Pike began to use the run game to pull away. On the ensuing drive, the Eagles got a 61-yard touchdown run from Royal making the score 28-0.
South Pike head coach Brinson Wall noted the Eagles second half dominance on the ground.
"We made an adjustment at halftime and we started opening up holes for the running game and really got after them in the second half,” he said.
Amite County went to the air on the next drive to try and get back in the game but South Pike’s Brennen Felder picked off a pass and returned it 21 yards.
The return set up a 24-yard touchdown run from Reynolds increasing the Eagle lead to 34-0.
After another defensive stop, it was Brandon Johnson's turn as he scored on a 4-yard run and added a conversion making the score 42-0.
The Trojans used some of their youth in the 4th quarter and freshmen Murphy Sanders III broke off a 16-yard run, a 7-yard scamper and later took it in from 3 yards out to put Amite County on the board.
“We can really run and the backend of our defense is high quality," Wall said. "They played well tonight and if we just keep working we are going to be alright the rest of the way out. Our special teams and defense kept giving us a short field and that makes it easier on the offense and we really took advantage of that tonight.”
Lumpkin noted the performance of some of his younger players.
“Our young guys stepped up tonight and really contributed," he said. "They seemed to understand our defensive scheme more and made some plays for us on offense.”
The Eagles will be at home next week to take on the Tylertown Chiefs. The Trojans will travel to Meadville Friday to take on the Franklin County Bulldogs