AIKEN — In a game that saw five touchdowns, the quarter without a point was the most telling.
Silver Bluff built a 17-0 lead by halftime, then held onto the ball for all but 73 seconds in the third quarter of a 30-6 win over South Aiken on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (3-0) controlled the clock with a well-run Wing-T offense that South Aiken (0-4) struggled to contain. Six different Silver Bluff ball carriers accounted for more than 450 rushing yards.
“That’s what our offense has to do,” Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said. “We can’t get into a shootout with anybody. We’ve got to control the ball and play physical football. It was really fun to watch that tonight.”
After first-half scoring drives of 67 and 90 yards, the Bulldogs started the second half with possession and refused to give it up. The first drive stalled and produced Silver Bluff’s first and only punt but not before more than four minutes came off the clock.
A South Aiken fumble inside Silver Bluff’s 20 gave the Bulldogs the ball back after only three plays. The ensuing possession lasted more than three minutes into the fourth quarter.
“I did a poor job of preparing these kids defensively. They physically whipped us,” South Aiken coach Jeremy West said. “Their offensive game plan was better than our defensive game plan and it showed. I take full responsibility for that.”
South Aiken’s offense committed four turnovers on two fumbles and two interceptions. By the time the Thoroughbreds did come up with a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter, the deficit was too large to overcome. Quarterback Will Holbrook completed four consecutive passes in the fourth quarter, capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Schoultz for their only score.
The late offensive production barely dented Silver Bluff’s lead. Junior Shaquez Wright rushed for 235 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Myles Corbitt had 103 yards.
Neither tailback had a problem navigating through the large holes in South Aiken’s defense created by the Silver Bluff offensive line.
“The boys were blocking,” Wright said. “The offensive line opened up some big holes for us tonight. This was their best so far this year.”
Though Silver Bluff dressed only 30 players and were physically smaller in the trenches, the Bulldogs clearly controlled the line of scrimmage.
“The offensive line has a lot of experience,” Lown said. “We paid the price there the last few years with all that youth, but that was physical football. We got after it tonight.”