Belmont South Point’s ball-control offense provided the Red Raiders with a halftime cushion. But long touchdown runs by quarterback Jaquan Brooks on consecutive offensive plays in the third quarter blew the game open as South Point toppled the host Concord Spiders 37-21 Friday in a second round 3A state playoff game.
The Raiders (9-4) will host the winner of Friday’s game between West Henderson and East Rowan. Concord, the 3A state runner-up for the last two years, lost for the first time this season and finished with a 12-1 record.
South Point avenged last year’s defeat to Concord in the third round of the state playoffs.
Protecting a 21-7 lead, South Point forced Concord to punt on its first second half possession and took over at its own 17-yard line. On the next play, Brooks, who rushed for a game-high 261 yards on 13 carries, burst through the middle on an option keeper for a touchdown.
Following another Concord punt that set up the Raiders at their own 42, Brooks ran the same play up the middle for a 58-yard score and a 35-7 lead with seven minutes, one second left in the third quarter.
“Our offense is all about taking what the defense gives us,” said South Point coach Mickey Lineberger. “We thought they gave us a little midline play with a fullback dive and the quarterback reads it and cuts it up. Our guys executed it well … It was a big, big quarter for us.”
South Point’s ball-control offense not only produced three first half touchdowns, it also kept the ball out of Concord’s hands. The Raiders ran 35 plays before halftime compared to 20 for Concord.
South Point attempted just one pass in the first two quarters, completing it for 10 yards. Of its 34 rushing plays only four went for 10 or more yards, including two for touchdowns.
The Raiders took a 7-0 lead on Tanner Muse’s dazzling 18-yard run up the right sideline. Muse took a pitch to the right and was caught twice by Concord defenders behind the 20-yard line. He slipped both tackles and high-stepped up the right side, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as he crossed the goal line.
South Point padded its lead by driving 60 yards on 11 plays to open the second quarter. Brooks, who did not have a carry in the first quarter, began getting involved in the offense, rushing four times for 32 yards on the possession.
On second-and-goal at the Concord 1, Ryland Etherton dove in from the left for a 14-0 lead. Etherton carried 20 times for 67 yards in the half and finished with 110 yards on 29 carries.
Concord, ranked No. 6 in The Sweet 16, split its deficit on the ensuing drive, capitalizing on a 36-yard screen pass from Keenan Black to Jadon Dodson to the South Point 13. Rocky Reid, who led the Spiders with 146 yards on 23 carries, scored on the next play, slipping inside the front pylon after a dart to the right.
The Raiders were unfazed, upping its lead on the next play from scrimmage. Starting at his own 42, Brooks ran an option play to the right, splitting two defenders at the Concord 45 and cruising to the end zone for a 21-7 halftime lead.