The South Park football team prides itself on its fast and aggressive playstyle that has allowed them to cruise through their schedule thus far, and it was on display yet again on Friday night at All High Stadium.
The Sparks dominated Starpoint, 48-8, to clinch the Class A2 division title for the fifth time in seven years and stay unbeaten.
It seemed as though both sides of the ball could do no wrong for South Park (5-0, 5-0), as they got plenty of contributions from the offense, with a little defensive scoring to boot.
“We got some explosive kids. All the kids that are making the plays have been with the program for a long time,” said Sparks coach Tim Delaney. “We’ve accomplished a goal, but there are a number of goals that go beyond that.”
Among those “kids that are making the plays” that Delaney eluded to included quarterback Mykell Hepburn, who put on a show all game until he was pulled in the fourth quarter.
After going up 12-0 in the first quarter thanks to two Hepburn touchdowns, he tossed a pair of dimes in the second to Anthony Mack and Andre Augustiniak, 46-yard and 43-yard scores, respectively, to help extend the South Park advantage to 34-0 at halftime.
“I was feeling a little iffy at first, my ankles and my thumb [were hurt], but I got the job done,” said Hepburn, who threw for over 200 yards and five touchdowns. “This is my first year doing this, so [the Class A2 title] is a big goal, big achievement for me.”
While Hepburn was able to overcome being a little banged up, the Spartans (3-2, 3-2) were not so lucky.
Starpoint lost three starters to injury in their week four loss to Sweet Home, including starting quarterback Carson Marcus. Receiver Joe Carlson filled Marcus’ role under center and strung together a few solid drives but could not finish them off.
Carlson was, however, able to prevent the shutout with a two-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown late in the game.
“Its hard to replace them,” said Spartans coach Al Cavagnaro on his missing starters. “We don’t quit here. We don’t quit at Starpoint, we’re going to battle all the way.”
As the Starpoint offense struggled, the South Park defense feasted.
The Sparks defensive unit finished the game with two touchdowns: a 30-yard scoop and score by Jaysean Armstead after a strip sack by Keith Jackson, as well as a 70-yard pick six from Jackson in the fourth quarter to cap off the dominant performance.
Jackson also tallied a receiving touchdown in the contest.
“We play really fast and we preach being physical. We’ve got some strong kids who’ve done a really good job in the weight room,” said Delaney on his defense, which is now allowing an average of just 9.4 points per game. “By design we try to simplify things so the kids don’t have to think a ton and they can play fast.”
Looking forward, the Sparks will attempt to stay undefeated on October 12th as they face off with Hutch Tech at All High. As for the Spartans, they look to avoid their third straight loss when they return home on October 11th to play Grand Island.
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