Eagles win third straight on homecoming
Most people know the saying "don't poke the bear" and on Friday the Mitchell Bluejackets found the same applies to Eagles. Mitchell rolled into Mark Wildman Field for a physical contest with host South Putnam on their homecoming and felt the wrath of the Eagles, falling 49-0.
From the opening whistle South Putnam found out Mitchell was going to be in their face, hitting hard and trying to make things tough for them. Unfortunately for the Bluejackets, that's just how the Eagles like it. Behind a career-night from senior Rob Gibson, South Putnam found the endzone seven times, six of which Gibson had a hand in. Gibson's five rushing touchdowns tied a school record.
Following some extracurricular activity that broke out some yellow flags, and some that didn't, South Putnam turned its frustration into point as Gibson scored on a 30-yard run with 19.8 on the clock in the first half to put South Putnam up 6-0 after one quarter.
South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess addressed the physicality of the game after the win.
"It was a physical football game," he said. "It was very frustrating, but I was proud of our kids. I thought our kids, for the most part, they maintained their composure. I know that's going to look funny because people will look and see all these penalties, but we tell our kids when there's business going on in the pile, I want our guys to get in their and pull people off.
"I thought our kids kept their composure, they played hard and it would have been real easy to let down and get into a who knows what and I thought our kids did a good job," Burgess added.
South Putnam then proceeded to pour 20 second quarter points on the Bluejackets. First up was a 59-yard scorcher from Gibson, followed by a seven-yard touchdown and a 17-yard score.
The Eagles went to the half with a fire still burning in their bellies and a 26-0 halftime lead.
South Putnam's offense was running smooth and Burgess credited the performance to a quick start.
"I felt like it was the first game since week two that we got out of the gate strong. We talked about that tonight. We felt like week three, week four, week five -- we maybe were slow starters and I felt tonight that we got out of the gate strong," Burgess said.
In addition to its offense putting up points at ease, the Eagles were also delivering some big hits on both sides of the ball. In the second quarter, Ryan Chestnut took a pass from Seth Hammond, and instead of the Mitchell defense providing the "ooh and aah" hit, that distinction went to Chestnut. The junior lowered his head and leveled Lucas Jakub, who remained on the turf for some time following.
The big hits continued in the third quarter when Gibson hit rusher Cody Burton so hard his mouthpiece tumbled to the field. Gibson also picked up where he left off, following his big offensive line and blockers for a 52-yard touchdown to put the Eagles out front 34-0.
For the Eagles next score, the Bluejackets were so preoccupied with Gibson's running attack that when the senior pulled up short after receiving the handoff from Hammond the defense was caught off guard. Then Gibson put the ball in the air and hit Justin Bumgardner for a 37-yard touchdown strike to put them in front 40-0. Hammond added the two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 42-0 advantage.
South Putnam's final score of the night came from Zach Smith, who burst up the middle, dragging a Mitchell defender for a time as he found the endzone for a 27-yard touchdown to bring the score to its final tally.
Gibson led the Eagles with 272 yard rushing on 28 carries with five touchdowns and a passing touchdown. Zach Smith added 58 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Up next for South Putnam will be a trip to Monrovia next Friday, a place Burgess said is always a challenge for his squad.
"It's a big game, a conference opponent. I know Monrovia's kind of been up and down, but they're a solid team and we're playing at their place. They're always tough to play there. There's not a lot of time to celebrate this one. We'll enjoy it tonight and we'll come in in the morning and we'll get ready to go to work for Monrovia," Burgess said.
At South Putnam
Mitchell 0 0 0 0 -- 0
South Putnam 6 20 16 7 -- 49
SP -- Gibson 30 yard run, kick failed 19.8
SP -- Gibson 59 yard run, conversion good 10:12
SP -- Gibson 7 yard run, conversion failed 4:12
SP -- Gibson 17 yard run, conversion failed 1:43
SP -- Gibson 52 yard run, conversion good 10:14
SP -- Gibson 37 yard pass to Bumgardner, conversion good
SP -- Smith 27 yard run, kick good 9:43
Rushing -- Burton 9-48, Cobb 4-16, Harbstreit 6-12, Davis 4-15, Fults 3-2, Ray 3-4, King 1-2, New 3-6, Phillips 2-8, Duncan 3-7, Jones 1-(-2)
Rushing -- Gibson 28-272 5TD, Smith 9-58 TD, Custis 1-11, Hammond 2-8, Riner 2-1, Patrick 2-8, Bunten 1-5, Wiggs 2-7
Passing -- Hammond 4-7 38 yards, Gibson 1-1 37 yards TD
Receiving -- Gibson 12, Bumgardner 1-37 TD, Chestnut 2-21, Snow 1-5