Almost like every other game this season, the Southwestern High School football team breezed to an easy win. On Friday night at the Reservation, the Warriors downed the visiting Whitley County High School Colonels, 41-6.
The Class 5A playoff opening-round win by the Warriors set up a district final match-up with county school rivals Pulaski County High School next Friday. Meanwhile, Whitley County's season ended with a 2-9 season record.
Southwestern senior Dylan Bland scored two rushing touchdowns and had a touchdown reception in the game, while sophomore quarterback Collin Burton had two passing touchdowns.
The Warriors piled on 34 unanswered points in the opening half en route to their 10th win of the season. Southwestern tallied a total of 414 offensive yards in the game, while Whitley County could muster only 156 yards of offense.
Collin Burton connected with Maison Hibbard for a 41-yard touchdown pass play for the Warriors' first score of the game with less than a minute gone by on the opening period.
Whitley County gave the ball back to Southwestern on a loss of downs after a four-minute fruitless offensive drive. The Warriors topped off a 63-yard scoring drive whenever Dylan Bland ran the ball into the end zone from four yards out to put Southwestern up 14-0 with 4:41 left in the first quarter.
Whitley County gave the ball back again on a loss of downs, and Southwestern wasted no time with another score off a Dylan Bland 33-yard touchdown run. Southwestern now led 20-0 with 10:12 left in the second quarter.
Southwestern defensive back JJ Hutchinson made an interception midway through the second quarter to get the ball back to the Warriors' offense. After a 75-yard Warriors' offensive drive, Giddeon Brainard scored on a 24-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors up 28-0 with 5:30 left on the first half.
Before the first half ended, the Southwestern defense forced another Colonels' loss-of-downs turnover. Southwestern scored with less than a minute left in the first half off a 33-yard touchdown pass play from Burton to Christian Walden to put the Warriors up 34-0.
Early in the second half, the Warriors put the game into running-clock mode when freshman back-up quarterback Ryan Anderson connected with Dylan Bland for a 47-yard TD strike to go up 41-0.
The Colonels finally mounted an eight-minute, 62-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a Caden Petrey one-yard touchdown run with only 46 seconds left in the game.
For Whitley County, Mason Croley and Caden Petrey split time as quarterbacks. Croley completed three passes for 55 yards and Petrey completed eight passes for 42 yards. Caden Rose carried the ball nine times for 24 yards, while Sam Harp caught two passes for 51 yards.
For Southwestern, Collin Burton completed eight passes for 149 yards with two TDs, while Ryan Anderson completed four passes for 59 yards with a TD. Tanner Wright carried the ball six times for 62 yards, Giddeon Brainard carried the ball two times for 49 yards with a TD, Bland carried the ball three times for 46 yards with 2 TDs, and Christian Walden carried the ball two times for 41 yards. Maison Hibbard caught four passes for 74 yards with a TD, Bland caught two passes for 49 yards with a TD, and Walden had one TD catch for 33 yards.
Southwestern (10-1) will battle Pulaski County (7-4) at the Reservation on Friday, Nov. 12, for the Class 5A District 8 crown.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor. Stats courtesy of Michael Gregg with Lake Cumberland Sports.