BELMONT – South Pontotoc made plenty of mistakes against a near flawless team on Friday night, and wound up paying for it.
The second-ranked Belmont Cardinals took advantage of those miscues to run up a 43-0 victory on the fourth-ranked Cougars in an MHSAA Class 3A first-round playoff game.
“We didn’t play well on offense,” said South Pontotoc coach Roger Chism, whose team ended its season at 4-8. “You gotta score against a scoring team.
“We hurt ourselves with penalties and stuff like that. You can’t do that.”
The Cougars were called for 10 penalties and the closest they came to scoring was on a last-second run by Matt Adams, who was tackled near the Belmont 5-yard line after running 85 yards as the game clock expired.
Meanwhile, Belmont scored four times on runs of 40 or more yards and recorded two safeties on defense.
The Cardinals will host a second-round playoff game next Friday against East Side, which defeated South Delta 38-18.
Jordan Powell started the scoring for the Division 1-3A champion Cardinals (11-0) with a 52-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the game.
Powell, who finished the game with 11 carries for 108 yards, blitzed the B gap to tackle South Pontotoc quarterback Wesley Barefield in his own end zone for a 6-yard loss and a safety at the start of the second quarter. The safety came after an illegal procedure penalty was called against the Cougars.
Dustin Poole scored on an 18-yard run 71 seconds after the safety, and South Pontotoc was looking at a 22-point deficit. Poole would also score on 40- and 48-yard runs as he finished the night with seven rushes for 164 yards and three TDs.
Oh, and he would come up with an interception on defense, on South Pontotoc’s second play of its possession, following his 48-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter.
Belmont linebacker Austin Ramsey tackled Matt Adams in the end zone for his team’s second safety of the night just before the end of the third period.
Cody Sartain added two more impressive scoring runs of 19- and 54-yards to put the game well out of reach. The senior running back scored from 19 yards out after breaking a tackle with 1:53 to play before halftime.
The Cardinals led 28-0 at the intermission and 35-0 less than four minutes into the second half when Sartain exploded for his 54-yard score.
The Belmont player finished with 116 yards rushing on eight carries.
“Having the ability to use three different backs is really good,” said Belmont head coach Kerry Moody. “I thought our offensive line did a great job blocking tonight, giving them holes to run through.”
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John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal