Jajuan Lankford blew past the 1,000-yard mark for the season, picking up 216 yards and three TDs on 15 carries as South Pittsburg jumped ahead early and then pulled away late for a 47-19 victory over Boyd-Buchanan.
"The speed is always big," Pirates coach Tim Moore said. "We have talent in the backfield, but we also have talent up front. You have to have those guys up front."
It wasn't so much chopping as slicing and dicing for the Pirates' Lankford and Kahlil Mitchell, who added 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries. Combined, they had 393 of the Pirates' 506 yards of total offense.
"It's tough, but what do you say. The guys play hard but we're still so young on defense and still learning," Bucs coach Grant Reynolds said.
His bunch tried to make a game of it, rebounding from a 21-0 deficit and getting within 21-13 halfway through the third period before the Pirates pulled away with back-to-back scores and 19 total fourth-quarter points. That late scoring splurge was highlighted by Lankford's 76-yard dash and a 50-yard run up the middle.
"They're definitely a good team," Boyd-Buchanan two-way standout Jim Cardwell said. "You run the ball the way they do and play good defense, you're going to win your share of games. They should go deep in the playoffs like always."
The Pirates' coaching staff didn't begin to relax until Mitchell's 13-yard TD late in the third quarter and Lankford's 76-yard romp with 9:27 to play.
"It could easily have been a tighter game. Boyd-Buchanan played hard and did some things that hurt us," Moore said.
The Bucs did their best to climb back into the game in the second half behind junior runner Austin Jackson, who gained 109 yards on 18 carries, the bulk of it coming in the final two periods.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.