AIKEN — South Aiken’s opening drive against Northwestern looked promising until penalties cut it short.
Then the Trojans turned it up a notch.
The nationally-ranked Northwestern team scored 16 points in the final 3:39 of the first quarter, and rolled to a 65-7 victory Friday night at the Stomping Grounds.
Highly touted quarterback Mason Rudolph, who has already committed to play at Oklahoma State, threw three touchdown passes to Dupree Hart in the second quarter as Northwestern (3-0) opened up a 36-0 lead at halftime.
A week after battling Greenwood in a close loss, South Aiken (1-2) couldn’t sustain the success of its opening drive.
The Thoroughbreds imploded late in the first quarter to break open a close game at that point. South Aiken was called for a chop block while punting from its own end zone, which resulted in an automatic safety.
Then, on the ensuing kick, Jaquavious Mackey returned it 84 yards for a score and 16-0 lead.
“We never regained our composure,” South Aiken coach Jeremy West said.
South Aiken was missing a few key players, including junior defensive end Rasool Clemons.
He did not dress out after suffering an elbow injury, but West expects him to be back in action next week.
In the second half, Rudolph played one series and drove the Trojans 70 yards in just six plays to take a 43-0 lead.
Northwestern substituted liberally at that point, and its backups were equally effective.
South Aiken ended its scoring drought when Adam Allen broke a big run and then scored from 2 yards out.
South Aiken was hampered by several penalties, including numerous holding calls.
“We really stopped ourselves on offense,” West said. “Every time we got a big run there was laundry on the field. We never could get in a rhythm.”
NORTHWESTERN 65, SOUTH AIKEN 7
PLAY OF THE GAME: Northwestern’s Jaquavious Mackey took a free kick after a safety at his 16, broke a couple of tackles and raced 84 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point, the Trojans led 16-0.
STAR OF THE GAME: Northwestern’s Dupree Hart, who caught three touchdown passes and finished with five catches for 123 yards.
WHY NORTHWESTERN WON: South Aiken could not stop the Trojans’ passing attack: three different quarterbacks combined for 347 yards.
WHY SOUTH AIKEN LOST: The Thoroughbreds were flagged for numerous penalties and allowed a pair of safeties.
NEXT: South Aiken at Silver Bluff, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Byrnes at Northwestern, Friday, 7:30.
Northwestern 65, South Aiken 7
Northwestern 16 20 20 9 – 65
South Aiken 0 0 0 7 – 7
N–Quadarius Fair 20 pass from Mason Rudolph (Sully Foy kick), 3:39
N–Chop block in end zone, safety awarded, :14
N–Jaquavious Mackey 84 kickoff return (Foy kick), :00
N–Dupree Hart 47 pass from Rudolph (Foy kick), 7:57
N–Hart 11 pass from Rudolph (Foy kick), 5:24
N–Hart 11 pass from Rudolph (kick failed), 1:03
N–Mustafia Love 4 pass from Rudolph (Foy kick), 9:45
N–Logan Rudolph 8 pass from Harper Woods (Alan Taylerson kick), 9:14
N–Chris Bowler 3 run (kick failed), 3:21
SA–Adam Allen 2 run (Owen Myers kick), 11:24
N–Safety, Bowen Smith tackled in end zone, 7:32
N–TJ Robinson 56 run (Taylerson kick), 1:56
RUSHING–Northwestern: Mason Rudolph 2-19, Dupree Hart 2-21, Julian Shockley 3-28, Chris Bowler 5-31, TJ Robinson 1-56. South Aiken: Matt Albertson 1-(-1), Adam Allen 11-91, Skyler Lightbody 1-(-4), Damien Brown 3-20, Bo Badlwin 8-13, Ryan McNutt 4-5, Taivon Garvin 4-(-7), Jeremy Hamilton 1-(-1).
PASSING–Northwestern: Mason Rudolph 17-23-0 for 273, Harper Woods 7-8-0 for 61, Matthew Worley 6-9-0 for 23. South Aiken: Bo Baldwin 10-18-0 for 82, Bowen Smith 0-1-0 for 0.
RECEIVING–Northwestern: Tori Adams 4-17, Quadarius Fair 2-49, Mustafia Love 4-46, Dupree Hart 5-123, Quiveon Beckham 2-26, Ahmad Dewese 1-18, Logan Rudolph 5-47, Walker Bristow 1-6, Julian Shockley 4-14, Chris Bowler 2-11. South Aiken: Jordan Scott 4-30, Damien Brown 2-9, Skyler Lightbody 1-21, Will Holbrook 1-4, Chance Holbrooks 1-12, Cameron Ladd 1-6.