All-around dominance powers South Warren
Since coming into existence a few short years ago, South Warren High School has yet to lose to Warren Central High School.
Saturday evening was no different for Coach Brandon Smith and company.
Behind a stout defensive performance, the Spartans roared to a 43-6 victory over the Dragons in the opening game of the inaugural Citizens First Bowl at L.T. Smith/Houchens Industries Stadium.
“(The players) came out and did what they were supposed to do,” said Smith. “We hit them fast and kind of overwhelmed them and that’s a sign of a good team.”
“The biggest question we had this summer was toughness,” said junior defensive lineman and Notre Dame commit Jacob Lacey. “I think so far (this season) we’ve done that and the way we’ve prepared each week (at practice) is the main thing above all else.”
Warren Central (0-2) received the opening kickoff but the Spartans would post the first numbers on the scoreboard after a Dragon fumble set up South Warren with a short field, the scoring drive being capped off by a 15-yard touchdown scamper by junior wide receiver Clayton Bush to give the Spartans a 6-0 lead after the first minute.
The Spartans (2-0) would extend the lead all the way out to 36-0 by the end of the first 12 minutes, the period highlighted with plays such as a 32-yard touchdown run by senior Christian Winn and a 61-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback Gavin Spurrier to Bush.
There was also an instance where the Spartans turned defense into offense, South Warren blocking a Dragon punt and senior Greg Byrd pouncing on it in the Dragons’ end zone to make the score 36-0 at the end of the first quarter.
South Warren would reach the end zone once during the second quarter on an 11-yard quarterback keeper by Spurrier, but the Spartans did not score any more points the rest of the way.
The Dragons scored once in the second half, junior quarterback Jamale Barber turning a bobbled snap into pay dirt, scampering from 18 yards out and into the end zone to ultimately make the final score 43-6.
The Spartan defense is currently limiting teams to just an average of 10 points per game, South Warren coming off a performance last week where they held Hopkinsville to just 14 points. While it has been overall great team effort, Lacey has certainly made his presence felt, simply wreaking havoc in opposing teams’ backfields.
“He’s doing what he’s supposed to do,” said Smith. “He doesn’t get ‘good job’ from plays he is supposed to make because those are expected. But he’s doing that and the other three guys on the defensive front did a great job tonight. That’s always been one of our strong points and I challenged them to make sure this year was no different.”
While it was a solid win for the Spartans, Smith still says that there are some areas in which his team can improve.
“There’s a lot of things that kind of get masked in a win like this,” said Smith. “There’s still some things we need to work on, and special teams is at the top of that list. Special teams was not very good at all tonight. We really need to make a lot of progress in that area.”
The Spartans will look to stay undefeated this Friday night, playing host to Franklin-Simpson (1-1), the Wildcats from down 31-W fresh off a 48-0 shutout win at Monroe County this past Friday night.
“Franklin-Simpson is good as they always are,” said Smith. “It’s going to be a real challenge, they’re a real physical team, so we’ll get a chance to look at the film and piece something together before Friday.
“We’ve been waiting for this game for a long time,” added Lacey. “They knocked us off twice last year, we’re going to be ready to play and prepare hard.”
Meanwhile, Warren Central will look to snap its 15-game losing streak, the Dragons playing host to Monroe County (1-1).