The game marked the first contest to be played on the newly christened "Mark Wildman Field" and from the look of it, it won't be the last. South Putnam racked up 214 yards on the ground, 165 of which came from senior tailback Drew Cash.
It was literally a clash of titans on the gridiron. Both lines came to impose their will on the other and on Friday night, the edge went to the Eagles. The line helped the Eagles convert 4-of-4 on fourth downs, along with powerful running from backs Brayden Freeman and Michael Nichols.
"That says it all right there man, that says it all," SPHS head coach Troy Burgess said pointing to his line. "When you have the guys up front that we have, the character they have, the unselfishness -- that offensive line is something else.
Then we go to our power stuff and you take (Michael) Nichols and (Brayden) Freeman you've got to mention them. Hey, you know what, they don't care if they ever touch the ball, we're going to block for No. 40 (Cash). When they do get the ball though, Brayden a few times -- some big, big plays," he added.
Burgess was also quick to note that fourth down in the past was something that stymied the Eagles progress. On Friday, he was more than pleased with the effort of his squad.
"That's something for years past, we didn't make those and it was the difference in some games and we talk about that," he said. "Tonight, when we needed to make those plays, our kids stepped up. Again, it goes back to our offensive line and those big backs.
"Then what can you say about Cash? He's a workhorse. Then the play here, where he carried like 32 people or something, that was incredible," Burgess said.
After a few back and forth possession to begin the game, South Putnam dropped junior Grant Zimmerman into the backfield, who completed a 15--yard strike to Cameron Chestnut and rushed twice for 14 yards. Cash capped the drive with a five-yard scamper into the endzone to put South Putnam up 7-0.
"Grant Zimmerman my gosh. He's been down and I told him 'You're going to make a play' and that was the difference. He came in and we went to that spread and let him make some plays," Burgess said.
Cash added another score before the half after Freeman picked off Clint White's pass attempt. The Eagles held a 14-0 advantage at the break.
After Freeman came through on a fourth-and-one, Cash slammed in from one-yard out to make the score 20-0 Eagles. Freeman added a score of his own at the 4:16 mark in the fourth quarter.
With less than five minutes to play, South Putnam had the opportunity to shut out the Rox, but an impressive drive consisting of five passing plays from David Coleman, the Rox put up their six points.
Watching their possible shut out go out the window, how would the Eagles respond?
One kick and a sideline later, Zach Smith answered that question. Smith fielded the kickoff deep and sliced his way through the Rockville defense, giving South Putnam their final score of the evening with 1:30 remaining.
While offense has the luster, it's defense that pays for the sparkle and after Friday night's contest, Burgess sang the praises of the defensive core.
"Defense holds these guys to six points -- it's a great job by coach (Nathan) Aker, the defensive coaches and the defensive players. It's a super job," Burgess commented.
After knocking off the Rox, things don't get any easier for the Eagles. Next Friday is the date that most South Putnam fans probably have circled on their calendars. The Eagles will tangle with the Cougars.
Burgess broke things down in the preseason and said his season will consist of three thirds. He noted if you could win two-of-three in each third, that's winning season record. As it stands, the Eagles are a perfect 3-0, but Burgess knows what next Friday has to offer.
"The thing this group has down is we never worry about two down the road or three down the road," Burgess said. "They've done a great job of focusing on that next opponent and we're getting ready to go into some tough, tough territory next Friday
"I don't care what anybody says, until somebody dethrones them that's still the champions. That's still the county champ, the conference champs -- they're still the big dogs. We have a tremendous amount of respect for North Putnam," he continued. "It's going to be a war."
South Putnam will head north to face the Cougars Friday at 7 p.m.
At South Putnam
Rockville 0 0 0 6 -- 6
South Putnam 0 14 6 14 -- 34
SP -- Cash 5 yd. run (Gould kick) 7:27
SP -- Cash 6 yd. run (Gould kick) :30.3
SP -- Cash1 yd. run (bad snap) 9:33
SP -- Freeman 4 yd. run (Gould kick) 4:16
R -- Coleman 17 yd. pass to Kelley (conversion failed) 1:43
SP -- Smith kick return 1:30
South Putnam -- Cash 39-165 yds 3 TD, Freeman 6-24 TD, Gibson 1-14, Zimmerman 3-7, Spencer 1-4, Smith 1-0. Totals: 51-214 yds 3 TDs.
Rockville -- Secuskie 8-51, Parsons 10-22, Dennison 3-8, Coleman 1-9. Totals: 22-90 yds.
South Putnam -- Spencer 6-10-0-0, 62 yds., Spencer 1-1-0-0, 15 yds.
Rockville -- White 5-13-0-1, 55 yds., Coleman 5-6-1-0 53 yds. TD
South Putnam -- Cash 1-16 yds., Chestnut 2-21 yds., Gibson 2-40 yds.
Rockville -- Secuskie 4-39 yds., Kelley 4-45 yds., Jeffries 2-24 yds.
Next game -- South Putnam will head north to face the Cougars Friday at 7 p.m.