By Matthew Martin/Sports Correspondent
After watching film of Saint Clair County, Sardis High head football coach Gene Hill said that if the Saints ever got it together, they would be one of the toughest teams to beat in the state.
The Lions found out what their coach meant on Friday (Oct. 11) in Sardis City.
St. Clair County used an explosive offense to come away with an impressive 61-28 victory in Class 4A, Region 6 action.
[“St. Clair County] put it together tonight,” said Hill. “They’ve got some great athletes. Out of all the teams I’ve seen on film, even in our region and other teams, they’re the most athletic team, as far as skill positions, that I’ve seen.”
The Saints’ athleticism showed early on.
On just the second offensive play of the game, St. Clair County (3-4, 3-2) running back Justin Brown raced for a 74-yard touchdown run, for a 6-0 lead.
Sardis (5-2, 3-2) answered on its next drive with a 6-yard touchdown run from Keenan Lewis, for a 7-6 advantage, but the Lion lead was short-lived.
Three minutes later, Saints quarterback Matt Hicks scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns – all in the first half – to retake the lead. The Odenvillle squad never trailed after that.
On the Saints next possession, Hicks added a 6-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 21-7.
Sardis answered on the game’s next play when Lewis returned the kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to make the score 21-14.
For most of the remainder of the half, however, it was too much Hicks. He raced for a 49-yard touchdown run, and one possession later, found Juan Montgomery for a backbreaking 90-yard touchdown pass a few minutes before halftime for a 34-14 lead.
Lion quarterback Will Scott found Lewis for a 12-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 34-21 at the half.
Sardis received the ball first in the second half and was able to drive into Saints territory, but a turnover ended the possession.
St. Clair County’s Kelvin Johnson scored back-to-back rushing touchdowns early in the third quarter, effectively ending the competitive part of the game.t Even though the final score was lopsided, Hill said he thought the team continued to fight to the end.
Lewis was able to add an 85-yard kickoff return for a fourth-quarter touchdown, his second kickoff return for a score and fourth overall touchdown in the game.
“There’s not a whole lot you can say,” Hill said. “They out-athleted us all the way around. We had no answer. We couldn’t even begin to get a stop on defense. And then on offense, we couldn’t get things going. But I thought coming out after halftime, we had a shot, only being down by 13; if we could only get a score there, but we turn it over. They beat us every way you could.”
Hicks finished with 188 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 14 carries. He also completed 5-of-10 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Brown carried the ball five times for 116 yards and two scores.
For the Lions, Lewis had 266 all-purpose yards – 16 carries for 102 yards and a score; 152 yards in kickoff returns and two more touchdowns; and caught one pass for 12 yards and one score.
Scott completed 10-of-27 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Brett Rains caught six passes for 65 yards.
Sardis travels to Fairview in a region game on Friday.