By Taylor Back/Sand Mountain Reporter
“Ground and pound” was the game plan for Boaz last Friday (Oct. 12), as the visiting Pirates raced past Sardis by a score of 42-14 in Sardis City.
It was the Pirates first win against Sardis in three years and clinched Boaz (7-1, 4-0) a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2014. For Sardis (2-5, 1-4), the setback eliminated the Lions from playoff contention.
While dominating time of possession 33:05 to 14:55, none of the Pirates’ 371 yards of offense came through the air against their 5A, Region 6 rival. Out of 69 plays, Boaz only attempted one pass that fell incomplete, which was one more pass play than head coach Jeremy Sullivan intended.
“My actual game plan was not to throw it,” Sullivan said. “I let them talk me into that kind of trick play mess. It’s the time of year that you establish yourself as the most physical football team, and that’s how you’re going to win.”
At 8:52 in the first quarter, senior running back Christian Collins got the ball rolling on the Pirates’ opening possession by capping off a 9-play, 56-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Kicker Gerardo Baeza’s PAT put Boaz up 7-0. Boaz finished the game a perfect 6-of-6 on extra points.
With 4:35 remaining in the first quarter, Sardis answered with its own 11-play, 74-yard touchdown drive after quarterback Jay Owens completed a screen pass to Jacob Hopper for 17 yards. The PAT converted by Trey Salers knotted the score 7-7. Salers finished 2-of-2 on PATs.
On Boaz’s next possession, the Pirates drove the football 69 yards for a second trip to the end zone to regain the lead 14-7 with under 10 minutes left in the first half. Collins scored for the Pirates on a direct snap from seven yards away.
After the Lions turned the ball over on downs, Boaz running back Briley Ramey ran the football for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:38 left in the second quarter to push the Pirates’ lead out to 21-7. Ramey finished with 118 yards and one score on 15 carries.
With little time to spare, Sardis’s final drive of the first half was cut short after Cole Bowling intercepted a pass at the 10-yard line and returned it out to the 31 to end the half.
In the second half, with 9:13 left in the third quarter, Collins made his third trip to the end zone on a 5-yard carry to increase the Boaz lead to 28-7.
After the Pirate defense forced the Lions to go three plays and punt, Collins took the football in for a 7-yard touchdown for his fourth score of the game, lifting Boaz to a 35-7 lead.
Seven seconds before the end of the third quarter, Sardis found the end zone behind a 5-yard run from Drew Vaughn (pictured above) to trim the lead to 35-14. Vaughn finished with 78 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.
Using as much time as possible, Boaz scored for a final time with 4:27 remaining in the fourth quarter to ice the game at 42-14. Collins capped off a 13-play, 54-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Collins finished with 200 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries.
Boaz hosts Southside this Friday (Oct. 19) while Sardis travels to Crossville.