By J. Daniel Rollins
For The Register-Herald
Summers County rushed for 429 yards to beat Independence 48-20 Friday at George F. Covey Field in Coal City.
The Bobcats, who outscored Independence 33-6 in the second half, had three players with over 100 yards on the ground.
“I thought we kept a good balance,” Summers County coach Josh Houchins said. “We really have been preaching a balance all year. Inside and outside, our line is pretty good.”
“(Isaiah) Brown and the Smiths are three very talented athletes.”
T.J Smith led the Bobcats with 171 yards on 17 carries, and he found the end zone twice in the victory. Not to be outdone, Isaiah Brown picked up 113 yards on nine carries and scored three times. Dustin Smith had 109 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Brown got the Bobcats on the board early when he punched it in from 10 yards out for a touchdown.
Independence wouldn’t go down without a fight as Aaron Tolliver steamrolled into the end zone with nine seconds left in the first quarter. He then ran in the two-point conversion to put Indy up 8-7 at the end of the first.
Summers County came roaring back in the second when Brown ran in from a yard out. He then completed the two-point pass to T.J. Smith to put the Bobcats on top 15-8.
Tolliver would find the end zone for the second time of the night late in the first half, but the Patriots trailed 15-14.
It was Dustin Smith who opened up the second half with a score, when he punched it in from nine yards out to put Summers up 23-14.
A flea flicker from John Powell to Bill Sargent down the home team’s sideline went 44 yards for a touchdown, gettiing the Patriots to within Patriots to within 23-20.
Later in the third, Dustin Smith picked up a 39-yard run down the sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the 5. On the next play, T.J. Smith scored to put Summers ahead 29-20.
Independence would challenge later in the third quarter, but Sexton’s pass to Powell was tipped into the hands of T.J Smith for the interception.
On its next possession, Independence’s Trevor Moore fumbled in the redzone. On the very next play, T.J. Smith ran the ball 82 yards for a touchdown as the Bobcats began to pull away, 35-20.
The Patriots would have their final chance of scoring stopped after a controversial call. Colton Ward appeared to be down when he fumbled as Matt Ryan recovered for Summers. The officials gave possession to the Bobcats, who they never looked back.
Summers County capped off the game with two more touchdowns late in the fourth. Brown found the end zone on a 75-yard draw play, and Ryan scored from 40 yards out with 25 seconds left.
Independence welcomes in cross-county rival Liberty next week, while Summers County travels to Meadow Bridge.