Playing their toughest opponent to date, the Southwestern High School football team - once again - had no problem with Class 6A Simon Kenton in a 62-33 running clock win. The Warriors, who upped their record to a perfect 3-0 on the season, have scored a mindboggling 172 in three games for a basketball-like 57.3 points per game.
And like their two previous games, Southwestern has pounded their opponents on a steady diet of a ground game running attack - as the Warriors racked up 387 rushing yards in their Saturday win at the Reservation.
Led by running backs Tanner Wright and Dylan Bland, the Warriors put the game in running-clock mode for their third straight game. Wright, a junior, rushed 14 times for a game-high 168 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns, while senior Dylan Bland scored three touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards. Senior Conner Crisp scored a touchdown and rushed for 48 yards, while senior Giddeon Brainard rushed for 41 yards and scored his TD on a 70-yard kickoff touchdown return - for the Warriors' first score of the game.
Brainard's kickoff TD return gave their Warriors their first lead of the game at 7-6 after Simon Kenton scored first on a 10-yard pass play from Chase Crone to Jayden Lawson. The visiting Pioneers took the lead again at 13-7 after Crone hit Chase Williams for a seven-yard TD play.
However, the game took a turn for the worse for Simon Kenton as the Warriors scored five straight unanswered touchdowns to take a commanding 40-13 lead midway through the third quarter. The Warriors 33-point run was paced by a Bland 21-yard TD run, a Wright 55-yard TD run, a Crisp 13-yard TD run, a Wright 15-yard TD run, and a Bland 33-yard TD run.
While Simon Kenton mustered up a little offense in the third quarter with two scores, the Warriors responded with two score of their own when sophomore Kaden Hewitt scored on a 57-yard kickoff return and Bland scored his third rushing touchdown on a six-yard scamper into the end zone.
With 10:55 remaining in the game, freshman back-up quarterback Ryan Anderson connected with Maison Hibbard - the Warriors' starting quarterback - for a 56-yard passing touchdown strike. Not only did Maison Hibbard have a TD reception, he made a defensive interception, and completed both of his passes at quarterback for 17 yards.
While Southwestern had a massive 517 yards of total offense, the Warriors' defense held Simon Kenton to only 28 rushing yards - on 31 attempts - and had seven quarterback sacks. Junior Ezra Major had four sacks, while senior Brandon Jones, Giddeon Brainard, and junior Maddox Mink had one QB sack each. Sophomore Christian Walden came with a fumble recovery early in the game.
Besides the Warriors' monolithic rushing stats, sophomore QB Collin Burton completed five passes for 56 yards, while Anderson threw one TD pass for 56 yards. Hewitt caught four passes for 64 yards.
Also, Burton connected with sophomore Brody Perkins for a pair of two-point conversion pass plays, while Walden scored a two-point rushing conversion. Junior Caleb Moore kicked two PATs in he game.
Southwestern (3-0) will be on a bye week next Friday, Sept. 10, but will play back-to-back road games at Mercer County (Sept. 17) and Lincoln County (Sept. 24).
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.