Senior running back Elijah Hood said his Charlotte Catholic team stayed calm when Olympic scored 14 unanswered points to tie the game late in the first quarter Friday night.
I think we handled it well, Hood said. We knew we just had to tweak some things because I think we felt like we had pretty good control over the game the whole time. We just had to, you know, get our mindset together.
Those tweaks led to 41 straight points for the Cougars, who went on to beat the Trojans 55-21 at home and stay unbeaten in SoMeck 8 4A conference play.
Hood had one of his best games of the season despite sitting out much of the second quarter because he got winded, according to Charlotte Catholic coach Jim Oddo.
Hood rushed for 294 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries. He also had two long touchdown runs negated by penalties.
I just think the team was working well, Hood said. I went out for a little bit, and we were still producing. Thats just preparation on our teams behalf. Im just one player in the system.
Sweet 16 No. 11 Charlotte Catholic (5-2, 3-0) and Olympic (5-2, 2-1) combined for five touchdowns in the first quarter.
The Cougars scored first on a 17-yard run by Hood, 4:01 into the game. Three minutes later Catholic took a 14-0 lead on a 43-yard run by Hood.
Olympic, which went three-and-out on its first two drives, scored on the first play of its third drive when running back Isaac Garcia took the ball 64 yards for a touchdown.
Another long run by Garcia on the Trojans next drive set up a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rod Tinsley to Darius Means, tying the game at 14 with 1:33 left in the first quarter.
Catholic then scored 21 straight points close out the half. Charlotte Catholic junior quarterback Ryan Miller connected with senior tight end Tyler Pumneo on a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to give the Cougars a 21-14 lead.
Turnovers set up the next two Charlotte Catholic touchdowns.
An interception by Cougar senior Cameron Roberts set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Miller to senior running back Drew Tomsho early in the second quarter.
Then an Olympic fumble was recovered by Charlotte Catholic senior Filiberto Torres, setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by junior running back Nicholas Rizzieri.
Charlotte Catholic led 35-14 at halftime.
Defense held an explosive team, Hood said. I think our defense is getting well adjusted to playing at a high level.
Hood scored all three of Charlotte Catholics second-half touchdowns on runs of 51, 3 and 73 yards.
Elijah, hes special and he did some things I dont think anyone else can do and gave us a little lead there, Oddo said. Hes just tough. I mean half the time hes just running over people.
Olympics last touchdown came with less than a minute left in the game on a 2-yard run by Spencer Owens.
Tinsley was 4-of-11 passing for 47 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, both by Catholics Roberts. Garcia finished with 205 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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