SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. -- How do you follow up a record-setting performance?
South Pittsburg sophomore Jajuan Lankford, who rushed for a school-record 366 yards a week earlier, answered that question with a 185-yard, five-touchdown performance Friday night as the state's second-ranked Class 1A Pirates defeated Class 6A Franklin County 38-6 at Beene Stadium.
"He continues to do everything we ask him to do," Pirates coach Vic Grider said. "With all of the injuries we have sustained, we have been forced to feed him the ball, and he has responded in a big way."
After the defense forced a punt to start the game, Lankford scored from 47 yards on the Pirates' third play from scrimmage. Michael Allen, who returned from a broken leg sustained in the second game of the year, caught the two-point conversion pass from Jake Stone and the Pirates led 8-0.
Franklin County's next possession led to a fourth-and-1 at its own 38-yard line. Coach Jim Carr elected to go for the first down, but the Pirates stuffed the play for a 3-yard loss, giving them the ball at the Rebels' 35.
Four plays later, Lankford scored again. He then ran for two points, pushing the lead to 16-0.
"I thought we played our best game of the year defensively tonight," Grider said. "We have a lot of young guys getting valuable game experience, and they are really starting to understand what we are trying to do. They continue to get better every week."
After a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Lankford scored again from 8 yards out, and the rout was on as the Pirates tacked on another Lankford score and took a 30-0 lead into halftime.
The Rebels scored with seven seconds to play in the game.
"The size of the school does not matter," Carr said. "It is the size of the heart that matters, and South Pittsburg came out tonight and played with a lot of fire and a lot of heart. They really took it to us."
The Pirates travel next week to Boyd-Buchanan, the top-ranked 2A team in the state.
"Our schedule does not get any easier from here," Grider said. "We have to go over and take on Boyd at their place. It does not get any tougher than that."