By Ricky Smith/Sand Mountain Reporter
Keenan Lewis and Jesse Hubbard combined to rush for 272 yards and three touchdowns as Sardis opened the high school football season with a 41-22 win over Sylvania on Friday (Aug. 30).
Lewis, a sophomore transfer from Douglas, ran for 149 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, while Hubbard, rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Hubbard also caught a touchdown pass.
Senior quarterback Will Scott passed for three touchdowns, completing five of 10 passes for 103 yards.
The Lions amassed 463 yards of total offense, with 360 coming on the ground.
Sardis scored on its first possession of the game after holding Sylvania to three-and-out on the game’s initial series.
Beginning from its 34-yard line, Sardis needed only four plays to score.
On third-and-three from the 41, Braun Pee ran for 30 yards to the Rams’ 29, where Hubbard scored from on the next play.
Sawyer Cahela’s point-after made it 7-0 with 7:59 left in the opening quarter.
Tyler Jenkins returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards for Sylvania to the Sardis 45.
A 14-yard run by quarterback Dillon Cameron and a 15-yard run by Jordan Cushen put the ball at the 16.
The Rams would get the ball to the 3, but a 4-yard loss and an incomplete pass brought on Dax Shrader, who kicked a 25-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 with 4:11 remaining in the first.
After Lewis returned the following kickoff 19 yards to the Lions’ 28, Scott needed only two plays to get the Lions back into the end zone. Consecutive completions from Scott to Brett Rains netted a touchdown, which came on a 50-yard scoring strike over the middle.
Hunter Miller blocked Cahela’s extra-point attempt, and the score was 13-3 with 3:37 left in the opening quarter.
Sylvania followed with another long drive, this one to the Sardis 18 before turning the ball over on downs at the 23.
The Lions needed nine plays to find paydirt, and seven of those plays came on the ground.
Lewis had a 20-yard run and Hubbard added a run of 13 yards before Lewis capped the drive with a 28-yard touchdown run with 5:36 left in the first half. The PAT failed and the Lion lead was 19-3.
The Rams answered on the next possession, a 12-play, 80-yard drive.
Cameron passed for 16 yards early in the drive to Shrader, and then added an 11-yard run before completing passes of 8 yards to Cushen and 14 yards to Skylar Chaney.
Cameron capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run around right end.
Hubbard blocked Shrader’s point-after attempt, and the score stood at 19-9 with 55 seconds left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sylvania attempted a squib kick that was recovered by Sardis at its 40. On first down, Lewis ripped off a 46-yard run to the Sylvania 14 yard-line.
Three plays later, Scott connected with Austin Hallmark over the middle for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left. Cahela added the PAT to give Sardis a 26-9 halftime lead.
Hubbard returned the second-half kickoff 25 yards to the Lion 47, and Sardis needed only five plays to increase its lead to 32-9.
Hubbard had a 16-yard run and Pee a 15-yard scamper. The touchdown came on a 15-yard pass from Scott to Hubbard less than two minutes into the third quarter. The point-after failed.
The two teams swapped possessions until Sardis added a 35-yard field goal by Cahela with 8:39 left to push the lead to 35-9.
Sylvania needed only seven plays on its next possession to cut into the lead.
Cushen scored the touchdown on an 8-yard run that was set up by a 44-yard pass from Cameron to Chaney.
Shrader added the extra point to cut the lead to 35-16 with 5:37 left.
Sardis failed to pick up a first down on its next possession and was forced to punt.
Lucas Wooten took Scott’s 34-yard punt and returned it 65 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 35-22 with 3:22 left.
Sardis recovered the onside kick attempt at its 49. Trying to just run out the clock, on a third-and-nine play from midfield, Hubbard broke free around right end and raced 50 yards for a touchdown with 1:18 left to push the lead to 41-22.
Sardis plays host to Locust Fork Friday in the Lions’ Class 4A, Region 6 opener.