Jayshawn Hubbard and Ronto Tipton each had a pair of touchdown runs, and they were among five South Pittsburg players with at least one touchdown Friday night as the Pirates kept their perfect season rolling with a dominant performance in a Region 3-1A matchup with Sale Creek at Finley Stadium.
The 52-6 win by the Pirates (8-0, 3-0) ended the Panthers' winning streak at four games and set coach Vic Grider's team up for a big opportunity in its regular-season finale next week at Copper Basin. With a win, the Pirates would finish at the top of the 3-1A standings for the fourth time since the region formed in 2015.
"It'll be a tough game going up there because Copper Basin has just as much to play for as we do," Grider said. "Our ultimate goal is to obviously try and get to the final game, but we look at the region as a big stepping-stone on the way. We want to take care of that first because it lets us play home playoff games, and playing at our place is what we want to do."
Not even Friday's brutal rain could slow South Pittsburg's offense against Sale Creek (4-5, 2-2). The Pirates entered Friday having won their games this season by an average of 44 points, and the final margin against the Panthers was in place by halftime.
The Pirates owned a 16-point lead after two possessions and two touchdowns from Tipton, with the senior's scoring runs covering 36 and 66 yards. Before the first quarter ended, Cameron Trussell (12 yards) and Blake Buchanan (42 yards) had each added a touchdown run, and the Pirates went to the second quarter up 32-0.
De'Andre Kelly added a 39-yard touchdown run less than 10 seconds into that period, while Hubbard had a 38-yard score about five minutes later and — after Seth Hodge's long run set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Amari Roddy for Sale Creek's points — a 12-yarder with a little more than three minutes left in the half.
"In these conditions, to be able to handle our business is definitely a positive thing for us, especially as the conditions get colder," Grider said. "We were able to get a strong handle on the game pretty quick and walk out with a big region win for us."
Tipton led all rushers with 118 yards on just three carries, and Buchanan's 75 yards on five carries helped the Pirates total 397 yards on the ground. They attempted just one pass.
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