SHANE SHOEMAKER – Sports Writer
After scoring 56 points in a shutout victory the week before at home, the South Pittsburg Pirates cut their points scored total in half on Friday when they faced the Franklin County Rebels. The Pirates beat the Rebels 28-14 to move to 2-0 on the season.
The victory would not only keep the Pirates — who are now ranked first in the Tennessee Prep Football Poll for 1A — undefeated in what is still a young season, but would also put them on a seven game regular season winning streak.
The Pirates would take a lead to which they never released with 4:36 seconds left in the first quarter, when JaMychal Buckner ran three-yards for the first score of the evening, making it 7-0 after a Jacob Bivens extra point.
It only took the Pirates and Buckner less than three minutes to score again, making it 14-0, when the sophomore running back caught a 39-yard pass from senior quarterback Kamden Wellington, who continued his good start from the week prior.
Wellington would go 13-for-23 for 184 yards and one touchdown pass for the night. But he did more with his legs.
At the 4:29 mark in the second quarter, the Pirates were able to drive their way down the field, setting Wellington up for a one-yard touchdown run to give South Pittsburg a 21-0 lead.
But before the half could end, with only nine seconds remaining, the Rebels were finally able to put points on the board after Franklin quarterback CJ Seals hit running back Eric Jones for a 15-yard touchdown pass to make 21-7 with the extra point.
The Pirates would have a pretty quick answer to the Rebels last minute first half score, when almost three minutes into the third quarter, Buckner padded his stat line even further and increased the South Pittsburg lead when the dual-threat quarterback made a short run to make it 28-7.
Wellington would rush for 69 yards for the night, his longest 33, and score twice on the ground, adding to his season touchdown total of six.
Senior kicker Jacob Bivens would stay perfect on the night, making all four attempts. He’s 12-for-12 on the season on PAT’s.
The Rebels weren’t quite done yet, however. With under two minutes left in the fourth, hoping for a comeback, Seals would throw his second touchdown of the night. This time a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nashawn Holman. This would be the final score of the night for both teams.
As an offense, the Pirates would account for 184 yards through the air and 114 on the ground for the night, totalling 298 yards on 48 plays. They would also go an efficient 6-for-11 on third down (55 percent).
The Pirates defense looked strong again, stopping the Rebels on third down most of the night, only allowing them to convert three of 11 attempts. The Rebels two touchdowns, which were both toward the end of each half, are the only scores allowed by the Pirates this season.
If the Pirates have one issue this season, it’s their incessant ability to draw penalties.
Against the Rebels, they were flagged 11 times for 145 yards, whereas the week before 11 times for 110. That will be something they’ll hope to clean up entering district play next Friday when they face the Copper Basin Cougars.