SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — The South Pittsburg offense looked like how it's supposed to look — fast and effective. Its defense looked even better in a 48-7 stomping of Sequatchie Valley on Friday night.
The Pirates racked up 558 yards of offense and limited the Indians to 141 yards while forcing two turnovers and holding the visitors to five first downs before the final drive of the game.
"That's a lot better than last time," South Pittsburg coach Tim Moore said, referring to a 29-6 loss to Hixson in the home opener.
Jajuan Lankford scored three touchdowns -- one receiving -- and netted 166 yards on 13 carries. Teammate Kahlil Mitchell netted 159 yards on 17 carries, scored one rushing touchdown and returned a punt 72 yards for a score on the final play of the game.
"We don't run a lot of plays -- we run the same plays out of different formations," Mitchell said. "It was eye-popping. It was fun."
The Pirates commanded the first half from the opening kick. They opened with a 13-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 15-yard sweep around the left side by Corbin Fitzgerald.
Then the Pirates made their only costly mistake of the first half. Sequatchie senior Blake Cates caught the following kickoff and cut inside, then back to the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown return.
South Pittsburg needed only three plays to cover 80 yards the next time it had the ball. Fitzgerald scored from 35 yards out on an inside run.
Lankford stepped into the scoring role with a 48-yard run down the right sideline, including a punishing stiff-arm that allowed him to clear the final yards with no trouble. And with 50 seconds left before the bands took the field, Lankford caught a 34-yard pass from Kit Grider in stride and strode into the end zone for a 28-3 lead.
The South Pittsburg offense made the impressive plays in the first half and averaged 10.6 yards per snap.
But its defense made the solid plays. It forced and recovered two fumbles, held the Indians to 81 rushing yards on 19 carries and batted away two of three Sequatchie passes.
The second half continued in the same fashion as the first 24 minutes. Lankford scored from 30 yards out. Mitchell scored from 52 yards. Then he capped the game with his punt return for six points.
"It's a work in progress and we need a lot more work," said Sequatchie coach Ken Colquette, whose team was led by Keith Billingsly with nine carries for 66 yards. "We got beat in every facet of the game. And when things were going right, they didn't go right for long."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...