By Lionel Green/Sand Mountain Reporter
Sardis turned the ball over four times and surrendered 40 points in the Lions’ Class 4A, Region 6 opener against Saks on Friday (Sept. 4) in Sardis City.
And that was just in the first quarter. Saks scored 32 points in the final 3:28 of the first quarter to put the game away early. The Lions (1-1) finished with six turnovers, all in the first half, as seventh-ranked Saks (1-1) rolled to a convincing 54-12 victory.
The game started out promising for the Lions. Their defense forced Saks to punt on the opening drive, but then Sardis quarterback Logan Gaskin threw his first of three interceptions.
The turnover set up the first Saks touchdown. Calvin Figueroa scored on a 7-yard run to put the Wildcats up 8-0 with 8:27 left in the first quarter.
Gaskin redeemed himself five plays later with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hallmark to pull Sardis within 8-6 at the six-minute mark of the first.
Demetrius Powell scored on a 1-yard run with 3:28 left in the first for 16-6 Saks advantage.
Three plays later, Rodney Reddick Jr. recovered a Sardis fumble and rumbled 44 yards for a 24-6 Saks lead at the 2:18 mark of the first.
Less than a minute later, Andrew Kilgore intercepted Gaskin, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Figueroa with 42 seconds left in the first to put the Wildcats up 32-6.
The Lions fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Quindarious Smith connected with Powell on a 36-yard touchdown toss as time expired in the first for a 40-6 lead.
Austin Hobbs intercepted Gaskin on the next Sardis drive, leading to an 11-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Joshua Murry for a 48-6 lead with 7:21 left in the second quarter, a score that held till halftime.
The second half started out rough for the Lions. Saks blocked a punt deep in Sardis territory, Figueroa scored four plays later on a 1-yard run to cap the Wildcat scoring barrage at 54-6 with 9:11 left in the third quarter. Saks was successful on the first six of their seven two-point conversion attempts.
The teams mostly played their reserves the remainder of the second half, with Javin Smith adding a 1-yard touchdown run for Sardis with 5:46 left in the game.
Figueroa led all rushers with 130 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Powell added 73 yards and two touchdowns. Smith was 6-of-7 passing for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Cruz led Sardis with 45 yards on 10 rushes, and Drew Vaughn added 35 yards on 16 carries. Gaskin was 12-of-22 passing for 98 yards with one touchdown.
Sardis continues region play next week at Jacksonville.