BLADENBORO — The South Brunswick football team opened its season by beating the West Bladen Knights 34-13 Monday night.
Junior quarterback Roman Dilgard scored two touchdown and threw a touchdown pass to junior receiver Miguel Miller. Senior back Keyshaun Smith also scored twice. In all, South scored on five of its first eight possessions.
“I think it was your typical first game,” South coach Rocky Lewis said. “There was a lot of good and there was a lot of bad. And a lot to clean up. But you can never complain about a win.”
The plays of the game were two catches by Miller. The first was on a sideline pattern that set up a touchdown run by Dilgard, which gave South a 13-0 lead with 7 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half. The other was a one-handed catch on a 38-yard touchdown pass, which gave South a 20-7 lead with 2:52 left in the first half.
“Miguel made two incredible catches,” Lewis said. “The one on the sideline was a little high. He went and got it and he dragged that foot.”
The completion gained 30 yards.
“The (touchdown) here was a one-handed catch where he got his hand behind the ball and brought it in,” Lewis said. “That’s what I spoke about earlier. We’re expecting those kinds of things out of him.”
Dilgard, in his first varsity start at quarterback, showed command of the offense. He scored South’s first touchdown on a 6-yard run with 10:49 left in the first half. A 42-yard run by senior Rodney Thomas-Price set up the score.
Smith scored both of his touchdowns in the second half. He scored on a 3-yard run with 8:41 left in the third quarter, giving South a 27-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, South began a drive at the Knights’ 36 and Smith had back-to-back runs of 24 yards and 12 yards in scoring the Cougars’ final touchdown of the game.
“Keyshaun ran hard,” Lewis said. “At halftime, I told them I felt we should have been up 28-0. We gave away the touchdown that was called back (on our first possession) and on the next play Keyshaun fumbled. From that point on, I thought Keyshaun settled down and did a great job of protecting the ball. And he ran hard. So it was good to see him have some success.”
Also having success in the running game was senior Alex Brown, who suffered a knee injury last season. His 19-yard run set up Smith’s 3-yard score.
“I told Alex, ‘We’re only going to play you two quarters to acclimate you to playing time.’ He really didn’t get any playing time until the second quarter. He started feeling it in the third quarter. It was good to see him run hard,” Lewis said.
The game was played on a field soggy from weekend storms, which led to the postponement of the game from Friday to Monday. The running and tackling on the field uprooted sod in many parts of the field. By the end of the game, patches of grass looked like tousled hair. Nonetheless, the Cougars’ offensive line kept its footing and played steadily all four quarters.
“I thought they did a good job,” Lewis said. “We were sloppy at times with some ticky-tacky procedure calls. But other than that, I thought they blocked well. There are a few things to clean up. But it was a good performance by our offensive line.”
The defense gave up two big runs for scores but otherwise contained the Knights’ running game. Pressure on the quarterback forced overthrows of receivers.
“One big play in the first half and then the same thing in the second half,” Lewis said about the Knights’ touchdown runs. “I didn’t want to give that one up in the second half, but he’s a good quarterback. If you can’t keep him contained, he’s going to do that to you. He’s an explosive player. Other than those two big plays, I thought our defense played pretty well.”
Sophomore kicker Noah Harrell made four PATs. Sophomore punter Danny Parker kept the Knights’ return game off balance with his rugby-style punts. This was an encouraging sign for Lewis as the team has graduated East-West All-Star kicker/punter Declan Hall.
“We’ve been working them hard in the offseason and in the summer,” Lewis said. “That’s been good so far.”
South has a quick turnaround to get ready for its next game. The Cougars play on Friday at Midway. The Class 2A Raiders opened their season by beating Class 1A Union 27-0.