Chris Mitchell looks for a hole to run through.

WILLIAMSBURG—South Laurel had to battle two storms Friday night in their opening round play-off game against Whitley County.

A steady rain and a Red Storm defense kept South Laurel’s passing game in check as the Colonels routed the Cardinals 48-0, handing South its first shutout of the season, and denying Ricky Bowling a chance to break Tim Couch’s touchdown record. Bowling and Couch both have 133 career touchdown passes.

“I would never have expected this,” coach Jason Chappell said. “Whitley County is a good football team, well-coached. I feel sorry for our seniors. I love them all. Whitley just outplayed us tonight.”

The Whitley defense wanted to make sure Bowling didn’t break the record against them, and they did a good job of blanketing South’s receivers. Meanwhile, the front line put tremendous pressure on Bowling the entire game, forcing him to scramble many times, and sacking him three times. Bowling finished the game 32-of-53.

Brandon Inman took the opening kick-off and returned it 73 yards to give Whitley a quick 6-0 lead. In fact, the Colonels scored on their first six possessions, using the running attack of Jason Powers, Cody Jones and Josh Wynn to keep the South Laurel defense guessing the entire game.

Jones capped off a 6-play, 79-yard drive with a 16 yard score with 9:06 left in the first quarter. Powers scored on the two-point conversion to make it 14-0.

On the Cards next possession, they took over on their own 21, and drove it to the Whitley 31, thanks to three straight completions to Jake Cobb, Chris Mitchell and Steven Quillen. But three incompletions, and a holding penalty on South, forced the Cardinals to turn to ball over on downs with 3:48 left.

It only tool the Colonels four plays to drive 69 yards, as Wynn this time broke free for a 45-yard scamper. When Jamie Labanion kicked the point after, the lead ballooned to 21-0.

The Cards again looked to have their offense on track when they drove the ball from their own 20 to the nine yard line, but on fourth-and-eight, Bowling’s pass attempt to Mitchell fell incomplete, and again South Laurel turned the ball over on downs.

And again it came back to haunt them, as Jones rambled 48 yards to pay dirt to make it 28-0 with 7:23 left in the half.

The Colonels added one more score when Jones carried it in from nine yards out to cap off a 14 play, 56-yard drive to give Whitley a 34-0 halftime lead.

The Cardinals came out and took the opening kickoff of the second half at their own three yard line. This drive looked like a vintage South Laurel drive, as Bowling was 8-for-8 passing, driving his team to the Whitley 27, where he faced a fourth-and-six. Bowling dropped back to pass, but was sacked by Jones, giving the Colonels the ball on the 34.

Seven plays later, Powers scored from six yards out to make it 41-0. The rout was completed with .57 seconds left in the game, when Powers scored from 22 yards out to make the final 48-0.

Whitley County will now face Pulaski County this Friday night in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

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