SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. - Coach Jason Fitzgerald singled out his offensive line in his postgame speech to the Hixson football Wildcats.
He asked them to stand up.
The powerful and deep lines propelled the Wildcats to a 29-6 win over South Pittsburg on Friday in Beene Stadium.
Then he told the lines and the rest of the players to remain on the field and enjoy the thrill of a victory, especially since they lost in the fourth quarter one week ago.
"We couldn't finish last week and we challenged them," Fitzgerald said. "All we talked about was playing hard for 48 minutes."
The Wildcats forced two turnovers and limited the Pirates to 83 total yards before the bands took the field.
Hixson running back Isaiah Robinson had 90 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown, on 12 carries when he took a 20-minute break at halftime. He finished with 18 rushes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
"This is what I expected to have," Fitzgerald said.
The Wildcats, who surrendered four touchdowns in the final quarter last week against Soddy-Daisy, clearly had put that game behind them.
They forced a three-and-out to start the game and then needed four plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 26-yard quick pass from Gill Brown to Jordan Johnson.
The Wildcats were so confident that they even taunted after dropping Corbin Fitzgerald for a loss on the next series. But Darion Nicholson had even more reason to celebrate when he stripped the ball from Jajuan Lankford and recovered the fumble.
Hixson followed with a punishing 16-play drive capped by a sneak from Brown behind the right side of his line.
Robinson followed the same blockers against an eight-man front on third-and-3 to score from 30 yards out with five minutes to go in the first half.
"I told them at halftime that [the Pirates] would come out and give us their best shot," Fitzgerald said. "We told them, 'It's not often people come to South Pittsburg and win.'"
South Pittsburg scored its first points on a nice 13-yard touch pass from Kitt Grider to Darnez Fitzgerald in the corner of the end zone. It pulled the Pirates within 21-6.
Robinson later ripped off a 61-yard touchdown, prompting Pirates fans to start heading for the exits with their team down 28-6.
"We didn't play well," Pirates coach Tim Moore said. "You don't play well if you don't do the little things right, and you won't be successful.
"It's my fault, what happened out there."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP