The trio of Tre Smith, Davontae Young and Calvin Figueroa all eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground as the Wildcats advanced to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs with a 51-21 win over Good Hope.
“We’ve been doing that all year,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said when asked about his team’s offensive production. “It starts with our offensive line. They’ve done a great job all year.
“Our skill guys, you know, we’ve got several of them that can do something with the ball when they get it, and they’ve done a great job for us too, making plays. We’ve been able to spread the ball around a lot. Defenses can’t just focus on one guy, and that’s been big for us.”
Saks (11-0) found itself in an unfamiliar position early, down by a touchdown less than a minute into the contest. Quarterback Sebastian Fendley’s 63-yard touchdown run on the Raiders’ second play from scrimmage put Good Hope up 7-0 with 11:03 left in the first quarter after the first of three successful extra points from kicker Chris Covarrubias.
The Raiders’ celebration was short-lived, however, as the Wildcats rattled off 51 unanswered points.
“We had a bust on the second play from scrimmage,” Miller said. “We just messed up a check, and when you do those types of things, bad things can happen.
“To our guys’ credit, they kept their composure and just kept battling. We just told them we’d be OK. If they just keep playing and put that behind us, we’d be able to respond and we did.”
Saks’ first play from scrimmage – a 26-yard run by Young – was par for the course on a night when the Wildcats moved the ball at will. Devin Harris capped a five-play, 49-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with 9:30 remaining in the first quarter. The first of Harris’ three 2-point conversion runs put the Wildcats up 8-7, and they never looked back.
Young’s 11-yard touchdown scamper with two minutes left in the opening quarter and a successful 2-point conversion run by Smith put the Wildcats up 16-7.
Smith’s superior athletic ability was put on display on Saks’ next possession.
After dropping back to pass, the senior quarterback escaped pressure, spinning away from a Good Hope defender before deciding to tuck the ball and run.
He cruised into the end zone from 46 yards out to give the Wildcats a 24-7 lead with 11:39 to go in the first half.
A 7-yard touchdown run by Young and a 24-yarder from Harris increased Saks’ lead to 31 before Figueroa capped the first-half scoring with a 61-yard run, the longest of the night for the Wildcats.
Saks’ first-team offense saw the field for one play in the third quarter, a 60-yard bomb from Smith to Harris that capped the Wildcats’ scoring.
Figueroa led Saks with 124 rushing yards on eight carries, and Young finished with 122 on 10 touches.
Smith had 116 on five carries and was 3-for-3 through the air — all to Harris — for 86 yards. Harris finished with 118 total yards.
On defense, Roc Green and Andrew Kilgore both picked off passes.
Good Hope added two late touchdowns against Saks’ reserves, a 22-yard pass from Riley Eisner to Jared McClure and a 4-yard pass from Eisner to Austin Crumbley.
Saks travels to Lauderdale County, who defeated Geraldine in the first round 31-6, next Friday.
“As you go on in the playoffs, it’s going to get tougher and tougher each week,” Miller said. “Lauderdale County is part of a region — Region 8 — that’s probably the best in the north. They’re a great team.
We’re going to have to be physical. We’re going to have to come out next week and have a lot of focus and try to get better each day and put in a good game plan and go up to Lauderdale and try to get a win.”