GORDONSVILLE — No one has been able to stop South Pittsburg in the running game this year, and the Pirates continued their dominance on the ground in a 37-7 1A quarterfinal win at Gordonsville.
The Tigers had no answer for South Pittsburg’s two-headed snake at running back, in senior 1A Mr. Football finalist Hunter Frame, and junior Deandre Kelly. Once the Pirates got it rolling in the second half, there was no looking back.
Gordonsville’s Darrell Holt made it seem like it could have been a close game early on, ripping off a 30-yard touchdown run with 1:49 left in the first quarter. However, Holt was almost shut down outside of that touchdown run that gave the Tigers the early lead, as he finished with 95 yards rushing.
South Pittsburg quickly answered on the ensuing kickoff, by taking the return to the 9-yard line, followed by a 9-yard touchdown run by Hunter Frame. That score started to get Frame rolling on his 23-carry, 248-yard, and two-touchdown night.
The entire first half made the game seem like it was going to be a defensive battle that came down to a couple of big plays, like Kelly’s 49-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. The momentum completely shifted to the South Pittsburg sideline, and the Pirate depth really started to prevail.
South Pittsburg took a 7-point lead into halftime, and there was a lot of optimism on the Gordonsville sideline going into the second half.
“We just kept playing our game,” Frame said.
And that’s all that the Pirates needed to do in the second half.
Frame switched his number at halftime due to a jersey issue, and this only seemed to make him run stronger as he extended the Pirate lead very quickly into the second half on a 58-yard touchdown with 9:36 left in the 3rd quarter.
Gordonsville contained the Pirates for the rest of the third quarter and seemed to have a shot going into the final quarter as they were only down by a couple of touchdowns. Then, Kelly decided to take over.
Kelly has missed most of the season with a severe ankle injury, but he showed no signs of being injured in this matchup as he rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries. Pirate kicker Cooper Keown knocked through a 22-yard field goal to start the final quarter that extended the South Pittsburg lead to 24-7.
Another quick stop by the Pirate defense led to a second long touchdown run from Kelly, this time from 66 yards out.
Gordonsville really started to air the ball out, and Tiger quarterback Matthew Albritton shined as he hit his favorite target, Wyatt Pemberton, several times in the final quarter. Albritton finished 6-of-13 for 111 yards, while Pemberton caught five of the six completed passes for 106 yards.
Kelly’s third touchdown of the night, from two yards out, was the dagger for the Pirates, as it extended their lead to the final tally of 37-7.
Gordonsville’s season ends at 9-3, while South Pittsburg improves to 9-1, and will host Coalfield in the 1A semifinals.