PLAY OF THE GAME: After a frustrating opening quarter that saw Strom Thurmond run only one offensive play, running back Darius Hammond scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, including a nifty 30-yarder that left several defenders grabbing at air.
STARS OF THE GAME: Senior Rebels quarterback Raleigh Yeldell was a steadying force for the top seed, especially after Hammond went down with an ankle injury in the second half, passing for 161 yards and two scores while rushing for 55 yards. Jamal Jackson and Cody Griffith had interceptions in the second half.
WHY STROM THURMOND WON: The Rebels struggled on defense early as the Raiders ran off 20 plays and nearly the entire first quarter clock before taking the lead, but they buckled down after halftime. Offensively, the Rebels never punted the football and scored on all but one possession.
WHY KEENAN LOST: The Raiders used a ball-control offense and an efficient play-action passing attack to keep things close in the first half as it was a dropped pass away from being tied at the break. Unfortunately, that same game plan failed to work against an adjusted Rebels defense in the second half.
QUOTABLE: “We didn’t have a good week of practice, but I didn’t think we’d play this bad for the first half. We just didn’t play very well on defense, but we did on offense. Raleigh made some great throws, had good leadership and was in charge of the offense. I thought he played really well.” – Strom Thurmond head coach Lee Sawyer.
NEXT: Strom Thurmond (11-0) vs. Emerald (7-5), 7:30 p.m. next Friday.