Photo: Sardis’ Drew Vaughn (37) out-races a pair of Crossville defenders on the way to a touchdown during the Lions’ 50-25 win in high school football last Friday (Oct. 19) in Sardis City. (Bentley Gray Photography)
By Taylor Beck/Sand Mountain Reporter
The respective offenses of the Sardis Lions and Crossville Lions roared last Friday (Oct. 19), but Sardis pulled away for a 50-25 win thanks to a strong second-half surge.
Both Class 5A, Region 6 teams came into the matchup trying to snap three-game losing streaks.
This was the first battle between the Lions since 2015 when Sardis defeated Crossville by a score of 41-14. With the win, Sardis improved to 3-5, 2-4. The setback puts Crossville at 1-7, 1-4.
After one half of play, Crossville trailed 21-19 after scratching its way back from an early 15-point deficit.
On Sardis’ first offensive possession, Temon Wilson burned the Crossville defense for a 44-yard touchdown run. A successful PAT kick by Trey Salers put Sardis out front at 7-0. Salers finished the game 6-of-6 on PATs.
At 4:59 in the first quarter, after Crossville turned the football over on downs, Sardis capped off its second offensive possession with a 36-yard touchdown run from Drew Vaughn to push the lead to 14-0. But on the following kickoff, Crossville quarterback Trent Bryant took the return 90 yards for a touchdown to cut Sardis’s lead to 14-6.
With under two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Sardis forced and recovered a fumble at the Crossville 1-yard line. One play later, Wilson pounded the ball into the end zone to increase the lead to 21-6.
With 9:21 remaining in the second quarter, Crossville’s Hunter Haston connected with Garrett Masters for a 68-yard pass that set up a three-yard touchdown scramble by Haston two plays later. A failed 2-point conversion attempt left Crossville trailing 21-12.
Haston threw a 68-yard touchdown strike to Bryant at 3:25 of the second quarter. A successful PAT by Eli Borja brought the host Lions within two points at 21-19.
Although its offense appeared to lose its muster toward the end of the first half, Sardis started the second half with a three-play, 45-yard drive that ended with Vaughn finding the end zone from eight yards away to go up 28-19.
After Wilson intercepted a fourth down pass from Jay Luther at the Sardis 43-yard line, Sardis’ Mason Golden took a 57-yard bullet from quarterback Jay Owens for another touchdown to increase the lead to 35-19.
With 4:33 remaining in the third quarter, the Sardis offense pushed the score to 42-19 when Owens found Jacob Hopper open in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.
But the host Lions answered with a 10-play, 61-yard drive that was capped off by a 15-yard run by Harley Hicks, making the score 42-25 with 11:52 minutes left in the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Crossville recovered an onside kick at the 50-yard line, only to turn the ball over after Sardis recovered two plays later in Crossville territory.
Sardis took the football 42 yards in six plays to essentially put the game away after Owens connected with Hopper for another touchdown, this time from nine yards out. A 2-point conversion throw -and-catch from Trent Presley to Hopper put Sardis out front for the final score of 50-25.
For Sardis, Vaughn finished with 72 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Wilson finished with 48 rush yards and two touchdowns on four carries and had an interception on defense. Owens finished 8-of-15 for 153 yards and three TDs along with 32 rushing yards.
For Crossville, Haston finished 16-of-28 for 284 yards. Bryant finished the game with 139 yards and one touchdown on six catches.
Sardis travels to Albertville this week in non-region action.