Madison Southern erased any worry early that it might have a letdown after last week’s disappointing loss to Pulaski County, crushing North Laurel (6-2) 56-28, Friday at home.
After North scored on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead, the Eagles completely dominated the Jaguars.
Southern (7-1) scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the first half to take a 28-10 halftime lead, then followed that up with touchdowns on its first four possessions of the second half and was never threatened in the game.
Damien Harris, as usual, had a big hand in the rout, finishing with 263 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries. He also returned an interception 70 yards to set up another Southern score.
But he was not the only Eagles running back to have a big night.
Following up on his promise to make the offense more diverse after Harris carried the ball 32 times last week, Southern coach Jon Clark got other running backs involved against the Jaguars, and they came through in a big way.
Senior Casey Dionne carried the ball three times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He had a nice 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter in which he broke through the middle then out-ran North’s secondary down the sideline for the score.
Junior Aaron Sipple finished with seven carries for 39 yards and one touchdown, while Andrew Devere, Tyler Hagen and Logan Coomer also had carries in the game.
Southern finished with 377 yards on 29 carries in the game.
Clark other backs will see more carries going forward.
“We’ve been giving them the ball more in practice and a little bit more in games just to build them to where we feel that at any time we can give different guys the ball,” Clark said. “We’ve got some descent running backs here and we’re going to take what there. They did a good job tonight.”
Every team’s success at running the ball depends on its offensive line, and a week after having its worst performance of the season, the Eagles’ offensive line came through with a superb effort against the Jaguars.
The O line of seniors Clayton O’Neal, Scott Lamb, Austin Sipple and Derrick Howard opened up big holes for Harris and company all night, earning Clark’s praise.
“I get offended when people say we don’t have a good line here. I’ve been a line coach for 11 years and a line coach in the SEC, so I know what a good line looks like. We have a very good offensive line,” Clark said. “They didn’t play good last week, but this is a talented group that is physical and tonight they showed it.”
The Eagles’ offense was much more balanced Friday than it was in last week’s loss, throwing the ball much more effectively.
Southern is set to wrap up the regular-season next week at Lincoln County.