Providence Christian scored six touchdowns in its first 13 plays in a 50-15 home victory over New Brockton on Friday night.
The Eagles (4-4 overall, 2-3 Class 3A, Region 2) scored five touchdowns in the first quarter alone in keeping their playoff hopes alive. The Gamecocks (1-6, 1-4) continued their struggles early, registering minus-15 yards in the first quarter.
The Gamecocks won the toss and deferred. On the second play of the game, Grant Weatherford hauled in a short pass, broke a tackle and raced all the way to New Brockton’s 3-yard line.
The 58-yard gain set up a touchdown plunge from Gus Goldsborough on the next play, and the two-point conversion gave Providence an 8-0 lead just 1m13 into the contest.
New Brockton struggled against the Providence defensive front on its opening drive but managed a strong punt to the Eagle 23.
No matter. The Eagles only needed two plays — a 22-yard run from Weatherford and a 55-yard scoring scamper from Goldsborough — to cap the drive.
The plays were part of a first half where Providence gained 320 on just 15 snaps.
After the extra point, the Eagles recovered an onside kick at their 48 and scored again in just four plays. Jake Smith, who completed all three of his first-half passes for 123 yards, connected with Weatherford on a 36-yard bomb to give Providence a 22-0 lead with 3:54 left in the first period.
The Eagles led 36-0 after the first quarter and increased the lead to 43-0 in the second period.
The Gamecocks mounted one good drive that ate the clock in the second quarter. A 25-yard run from Julian Noble set up a 4-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kaden Cupp.
Providence led 43-8 at halftime and increased it to 50-8 with a 2-yard TD run from Smith in the third quarter.
Cupp rounded out New Brockton’s scoring with a 47-yard TD run off a bad snap late in the fourth quarter.
Smith led the Eagles with 123 and two touchdowns passing. He added 76 yards and two other scores on five carries.
Goldsborough paced the ground game with 105 yards and three scores on 11 carries. Weatherford added 77 yards on three carries and 97 yards and a TD on two receptions.
Cupp accounted for 121 of the Gamecocks’ 150 yards rushing and both of the scores. He completed 9 of his 17 passes for 97 yards.
Avery Weed added 53 yards on three receptions.
“We only had four seniors play in the game, including the kicker, out of 12 on the roster,” New Brockton head coach Zack Holmes said. “We were playing a bunch of young kids. For a couple of them it was their first varsity start. Then we were asking a couple sophomores to play both ways.
“I challenged them at halftime and I was proud of the way they came out and I thought we had some fight in us in the second half – which was really good to see and really hard to do. When you’ve had a season like we’ve had, it’s hard to make yourself do the right thing. I was proud of them for doing the right thing.”
Holmes credited those four seniors who did play – Clay Reynolds, Weed, Noble and kicker Jacob Bustamante – for leading his team.
“It would be really easy for them to lie down or to quit and they didn’t do that,” the coach said.
New Brockton plays Houston Academy next week at Bates Memorial Stadium in Enterprise.
Ken Rogers contributed to this report.
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