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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

Bluejays rack up 384 yards rushing in 42-7 win

Sunday, November 10, 2002

(Photo)
Charleston's Orrice Stanback (27) follows offensive lineman Ryan Heaton (54) and Danny Farmer (74) in Friday's Class 2, District 2 championship game.
CHARLESTON - After starting the season 1-5, Charleston head coach Brent Anderson wasn't ready to cash in his chips just yet.

After all, Anderson had seen this before.

Charleston went 0-6 to start the 2000 season, but rebounded to win the district championship.

And with the meat of the schedule behind them, running the table was certainly a realistic goal this season.

The Bluejays accomplished just that on Friday night at Marshall Stadium as they wrapped up their third straight Class 3, District 2 championship with a 42-7 victory against Scott City.

It was the fourth time in five years that Charleston and Scott City played for the district championship.

The Bluejays (5-5) will now take on Class 2 No. 7 ranked Portageville on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Marshall Stadium in a Class 2 Sectional game.

"These kids came out tonight, they were energized and ready to play," said Charleston head coach Brent Anderson. "The truth is our kids are thrown to the wolves early and they have to scratch and claw and fight their way out. You could tell they've played in big games."

Friday's game against Scott City (4-6) was nearly a flawless performance by the Bluejays. Charleston overpowered the Rams on the offensive line en route to 384 yards rushing. The Bluejay line created gaping holes for standout running back Orrice Stanback and fullbacks Paul Brown and Dadrian Jones to run through.

"We dominated the line of scrimmage, and whenever you do that your chances of winning football games is multiplied by about 100," said Anderson. "We really felt like we matched up well against them up front. I didn't think we would dominate the line of scrimmage like that, but I knew I wanted to put the game in those five's hands. I wanted to run the football until they could stop us."

But the Rams never did.

Stanback totaled 206 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns in the game. The senior now has 1,979 yards and 21 touchdowns this season.

"Orrice is going to get all the headlines, he had a great football game, he ran the ball really well, he had an extra burst tonight," said Anderson. "He was ready to go and he was excited to play. All of our backs ran the ball well and that's because we were moving the line of scrimmage."

The Bluejays kept things simple the entire night, but it was the misdirection counter play that kept the Rams off balance on defense.

"Our original gameplan was to try to force them to drive the ball," said Scott City head coach Jason Burkman. "They did that and we couldn't get any turnovers. Stanback is tough, but it's not so much him, he's just got a good line blocking for him. Their line isn't getting enough credit."

Brown also had a big day, rushing for 98 yards on 11 carries with two TDs, all on fullback dives. Jones added 32 yards on four carries with a score, all on fullback dives.

"That's a big part of our offense," said Anderson of the fullback dive. "We work real hard on our fullback game. A lot of teams try to take it away and some do, but that adds a dimension to our offense. If you can run the fullback that opens up a lot of avenues for you. Paul and Dadrian have really picked it up in the past week, but those kids up front are playing some good football. They played as well as they've played all year."

Quarterback A.H. Marshall ran for 44 yards on 14 carries, mostly on option keepers.

Charleston opened up a 36-0 halftime lead and was never threatened. The mercy rule kept the clock running the entire second half.

As good as the Bluejays were on offense, the defense dominated just as much, if not more. The Rams managed just 126 yards of offense. Ten of the Rams' 11 possessions lasted four plays or less as they ran just 36 plays on the night. Charleston ran 63 plays and held the ball for 32 of the game's 48 minutes.

"I knew they were a good ballclub, but I thought we'd move the ball better than what we did," said Burkman. "We just couldn't force them into turnovers. They did a good job of holding onto the ball. We got ourselves in a hole right off the bat with a turnover and you can't do that in a game like this."

After forcing a punt to start the game, Charleston marched 74 yards on 10 plays capped by Stanback's 4-yard run to make it 6-0.

After forcing another punt, Charleston was faced with a 3rd-and-12 at their own 36. Marshall rolled right and found Nelson French for a 26-yard completion. That set up a 38-yard TD run by Stanback on an option play with 2:48 left in the first quarter.

Marcus Dixon's extra point made it 13-0.

Two possessions later, Charleston punter Andrew DeField pinned the Rams back at their own 4-yard line. Two penalties backed them up to the 1-yard line which led to a safety when quarterback Luke McClellan was tackled in the end zone. That pushed the lead to 15-0 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.

The second quarter saw much of the same as the Bluejays tacked on three more scores.

Jones scored on an 18-yard run, Stanback hit paydirt on a 2-yard plunge to cap a 17-play, 95-yard drive, and Brown broke several tackles on a 29-yard TD run with 1:14 left in the half.

Brown added a 12-yard TD run on the Bluejays' opening drive of the third quarter, a 12-play, 89-yard drive.

Scott City got its only score when McClellan hit Matt Schaefer for a 33-yard TD pass with 4:33 left in the game.

McClellan completed just 4-of-17 passes for 60 yards. Schaefer led the Rams on the ground with 47 yards on 10 carries.

"Our defense has not played well this year and we gave them a gut-check in about Week 5," said Anderson. "Ever since then we've had a little spark and we've flown around. A lot of it has to do with our schedule, but our defense has stepped it up here the last four weeks."

Although the Bluejays were preseason favorites to win the district championship, accomplishing the feat after losing all-staters Dontay Clark and Jordy Mixon makes the task even more rewarding for Anderson.

"It's a credit to the kids," said Anderson. "You look at losing kids like that, you know, we lost some good athletes. But we have kids that want to play football. This group of kids athletically is not the best we've ever had. But they are hard-working and they've been determined this last four to five weeks. We have not had a group that's went to practice like they do. They're a very intelligent football team. They're very sound fundamentally, and that will take you a long way. That's a credit to the seniors that stepped it up this year and just said, 'hop one, we're going to pull the train.'"