South Florence strikes quickly and often as it rolls over Darlington 47-7
By Drake Horton
To say that this has been a rough start to a season for the Darlington Falcons football team would be an understatement.
Heading into their game against South Florence Friday night, the Falcons were not only 0-4, but on top of that, they had only scored two touchdowns the whole year and both of those had come late, when everything was already out of hand.
In 192 minutes of game time, Darlington had only found the end zone twice, but against South Florence it took only 39 seconds before the Falcons scored and took their first lead of the season.
After recovering the opening kick that was misplayed by the Bruins, Darlington’s Daniel Perkins hauled in a 27-yard touchdown reception on the just the second play of the drive and just like that, the Falcons, for the first time this season, had a lead.
“We looked a little different in the start, didn’t we?” Darlington head coach Raymond Jennings said. “We finally scored with the game on the line. That is the first time we have scored a touchdown in the first half.”
Unfortunately for the Falcons, that lead was short-lived and that was the last time they would find the end zone as South Florence rolled to a 47-7 win at the Falcons’ Nest.
Following Darlington’s opening touchdown, South Florence put together a very impressive first half, scoring 40 of its 47 points.
A lot of South Florence’s scoring was quick and came off of Darlington turnovers. Tied at seven, a Darlington fumble gave the Bruins the football on the Falcons’ 14-yard with 7:01 left in the first quarter. Five seconds later on the very first play of the drive South Florence had scored.
Up by a touchdown, the South Florence defense struck again, this time intercepting an errant pass and returning it back to the Falcons’ 21-yard line and just like the drive before in one play the Bruins were back in the end zone with 6:28 left.
In roughly 33 seconds of game time, the Bruins went from tied at 7 to up by 13, leading 20-7 and if that was not enough, with 1:51 left in the opening period, South Florence added a 60-yard touchdown run for good measure.
Darlington tried to add points on the board at the start of the second quarter, but a 33-yard field goal attempt never stood a chance. Following the miss both teams traded turnovers with Darlington muffing a punt only to come back and have Perkins intercept what had the potential to be a touchdown on the drive that resulted from the turnover.
The Falcons were not able to do anything with the interception, however, going three and out and it was deja vu all over again as South Florence struck again on the first play of the drive, going 51 yards on the ground to score and increase the Bruins’ lead to 33-7 with 5:31 left before the half.
Like earlier when both teams traded turnovers, the Falcons and Bruins did it again, but this time when the Falcons fumbled, South Florence recovered and returned for about 10 yards for the score with 1:18 left in the second quarter.
Neither team scored in the third quarter and South Florence added one more score in the fourth with a 18-yard rushing touchdown with six minutes left in the game.
Depth, as it has in every game so far this season, really started playing a role as this game went along.
Heading into the game Darlington was already shorthanded, dressing only 26, and by the second half that number was down to 23 or so after some players were injured.
“It was a while where there were only two guys out there that were linemen that weren’t going both ways and one or two skilled kids that weren’t going both ways, so it is getting to a safety issue with me right now,” Jennings said.
A 26-man roster is small for any level of football, even 1A, but a for a 4A team it is almost unheard of — and when you compound that with the fact that South Florence is a 5A team, it sets up a recipe for disaster.
With the loss, Darlington is 0-5 on the year and now gets ready to start region play this week as it goes on the road to take on its rival, the Wilson Tigers.