The South Putnam Eagles football team traveled Friday night to New Market and brought home a win against the Southmont Mounties in the first round of the IHSAA Sectionals.
The Eagles entered the game with high hopes of advancing in the tournament against the Mounties, who entered the game with a season record of 0-9. However, South Putnam knew Southmont would put up a fight.
Southmont did indeed battle for the entire contest, but South Putnam advanced to the second round of the Sectionals by defeating the Mounties, 45-33.
The Eagles drove down the field on their first possession, moving the ball 62 yards in six plays. Drew Christy scored the first of his four touchdowns of the night on a 21-yard dash just 3:30 minutes into the game.
Southmont answered, scoring on its next possession to even the score.
The Eagles responded with a 50-yard pass from Anthony Tomasino to Ben Anderson, with 2:34 showing on the clock.
Christy scored again at the end of the first quarter and the Eagles led 18-6 going into the second quarter.
Both teams' defenses stiffened in the second quarter, as each team was limited to one touchdown each during the stanza.
The Mounties scored on a four-yard pass play, but Kasey McCallie answered back for the Eagles, powering into the end zone to score with 2:03 left in the half.
Jason Huck stopped the final drive of the half for Mounties when he intercepted the Southmont quarterback, which turned out to be the only turnover of the game.
The Eagles entered the locker room at halftime with a 24-12 lead.
Christy opened the second half by running the kickoff back 82 yards for his third touchdown of the night.
One play later, Southmont scored on a 92-yard run from scrimmage and that turned out to be the final points scored in the third quarter.
South Putnam entered the final quarter with a 31-18 lead, but Southmont scored eight seconds later to close within six points, 31-25.
However, the Eagles rose to the challenge, driving 70 yards down the field and Christy scored his fourth touchdown of the game, a one-yard run, with 8:16 left in the game. A two-point conversion pass from Tomasino to Huck gave South Putnam a 39-25 lead.
Four minutes and 23 seconds later, Tomasino hit Matt Hicks with a pass. Hicks eluded Southmont's defenders, leaping over the final one at the five yard line. That turned-out to be the final points of the game for the Eagles.
South Putnam head coach Mark Wildman then substituted his reserves into the game and Southmont's starters scored one final time with 0:58.3 left in the game for the final score of 45-33.
"Southmont played hard and they played well, but they played the way that they looked on video," Coach Wildman said following the game. "We knew they were capable of making some big plays.
"Drew Christy just did a great job of running the ball. We had a high rate of pass completions, 10-of-12, and we didn't have to throw many times to be effective.
"There was one drive in the third quarter when we completed passes on third downs that was really big for us and we went on and scored on that drive.
"It was a good combination for us and our play-action passes sure helped us tonight.
"Returning that kick-off at the start of the second half really helped us out," said Wildman.
Christy gained 205 yards on 20 carries to lead the Eagles in rushing, and had the 82-yard kickoff return. Birkemeier followed with 38 yards on five carries, and Kasie McCallie had 24 yards on five carries.
As a team, South Putnam gained 283 rushing yards on 41 carries compared to Southmont's rushing for 241 yards on 34 carries.
The Eagles were 10-for-12 through the air for 172 yards. Quarterback Tomasino hit Anderson with two passes totaling 73 yards, Hicks with four for 51 yards, and Christy with two for 35 yards.
The Eagles (6-4, 4-2 WCC) will host North Montgomery in the second round of the Sectionals, next Friday night. The game begins at 7:00 p.m.
South Putnam 18 6 7 14 - 45
Southmont 6 6 6 15 - 33
South Putnam - Christy 21 run (Kick failed) 8:33
Southmont - Sparks 18 run (Kick failed) 5:31
South Putnam - Tomasino to Anderson 50 pass (Kick failed) 2:34
South Putnam - Christy 49 run (Run failed) 0:39.6
Southmont - Kellie to McKinney 4 pass (Kick failed) 6:41
South Putnam - McCallie 1 run (Run failed) 2:03
South Putnam - Christy 82 kick-off return (Hicks kick) 11:47
Southmont - Sparks 92 run (Pass failed) 11:39
Southmont - Kellie to McKinney 3 pass (Jones kick) 11:52
South Putnam - Christy 1 run (Tomasino to Huck pass) 8:16
South Putnam - Tomasino to Hicks 22 pass (Kicked failed) 3:53
Southmont - Sparks 2 run (Myers run) 0:58.3
First Downs - South Putnam (13), Southmont (17)
Punts-Yards - South Putnam (1-32), Southmont (2-62)
Fumbles-Lost - South Putnam (1-0), Southmont (2-0)
Penalties-Yards - South Putnam (8-80), Southmont (4-25)
South Putnam (6-4, 4-2 WCC):
Rushing - (41 Carries, 283 yards) - Christy 20-205, Tomasino 4-(-3), Birkemeier 7-38, Anderson 1-12, McCallie 5-24, Terry 2-3, Tomaw 1-4, Green 1-0.
Passing - (10-12-2-0, 172 yards) - Tomasino 10-12, 172 yds., 2 TD, 0 INT.
Receiving - (10 catches, 172 yards) - Christy 2-35, Rhine 1-11, Anderson 2-73, Hicks 4-51, Huck 1-2.
Southmont (0-10, 0-7 SC):
Rushing - (34 Carries, 241 yards) - Sparks 19-204, Kellie 7-3, Miller 1-1, Myers 7-33.
Passing - (12-25-2-1, 157 yards) - Kellie 12-25, 157 yds., 2 TD, 1 INT.
Receiving - (12 catches, 157 yards) - Sparks 1-6, Rhoads 1-11, Miller 1-15, McKinney 5-79, Myers 4-46.
Next Game - The Eagles (6-4, 4-2 WCC) will host North Montgomery in the second round of the Sectionals, next Friday night. The game begins at 7:00 p.m.