STATESVILLE — The South Iredell Vikings cruised to a 69-15 win over the West Lincoln Rebels in the first round of the 2AA state playoffs on Friday.
The opening half of the night was a shut out filled with big runs, interceptions and touchdown after touchdown by South Iredell. Viking senior running back LaChaston Smith continuously blew through the Rebels’ defense, scoring the majority of the Vikings’ points on the board and completing 191 of his teams rushing yards.
Whether it was inching down the field a few yards a time, resulting in 14 first downs last week, or a 24-yard run for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the evening, Smith highlighted all four quarters and with the help of senior Scott Miller, who scored the first six points of the night for his team after a 24-yard reception, led the South Iredell offense to a 48-point lead over West Lincoln by halftime.
The biggest gain of the first half for the Rebels came in the last two minutes of the second quarter. Junior running back Daniel Davila, West Lincoln’s rushing leader with 132 yards and the Rebels’ unofficial MVP of the night, moved the ball 23 yards — the best field position his team had by that point. But his yardage and the resulting momentum from his run weren’t enough to bring his team out from the shutout rut they were stuck in until nine minutes into the second portion of the blowout game.
To put Davila’s importance to the Rebels’ performance into perspective — of the 58 of his team’s rushing yards they had accrued by halftime, all but 6 belonged to him.
The Vikings quickly picked up on the stronger areas of the Rebels’ offensive line, and stayed on Davila the rest of the night after his second quarter break for the end zone. Moving only 9 yards in their first set, West Lincoln was forced to punt and failed to open the latter portion of the night with a bang.
A muffed punt and dropped ball by South Iredell gave possession over to West Lincoln at the 22-yard line, resulting in a touchdown by sophomore running back Mack George — finally ending the zero-point streak of the visitors.
Senior Viking Jacolby Everhart wasn’t going to let West Lincoln enjoy the much-needed touchdown for too long, as he responded with a punt return of nearly 60 yards, that brought South Iredell to the 1-yard line. Holding off the home team for the first three downs, the Rebels may have forced a field goal kick, had they not let Smith slip through for another Vikings touchdown. His break through the West Lincoln defense prompted an announcement that he had just set a record that night with seven rushing touchdowns, as he brought his team up to 55 points, against West Lincoln’s seven.
The final quarter started and continued as the three prior, as the Vikings blew down the field, yards ahead of the Rebels. Only three touchdowns filled the final 12 minutes of play. Two from South Iredell, and one, in the last 36 seconds, by West Lincoln. WLHS senior running back Clay Alguire inched the ball forward enough for Davila to make a run for it and put six more points on the scoreboard as the Rebels chipped away at the big lead of their competitors one last time.