Stephenson 21, SW DeKalb 0
Stephenson snapped one streak and extended another in its clash with neighboring Southwest DeKalb at Hallford Stadium.
The Jaguars erased an 0-2 mark by blanking the Panthers, 21-0. This latest victory was the team’s sixth in a row against their county foe.
“Our kids worked hard. We made a lot of mistakes, but it was 21-0. We’ll take that every time. We bent tonight, but we didn’t break. We just have to cut out the penalties,” said Stephenson head coach Ron Gartrell.
Stephenson running back Jaylin Marson-Knight set the tone early and maintained his pace to propel his squad to victory lane.
The host Jaguars wasted no time marching downfield on their opening possession. After collecting a series of first downs, Marson-Knight busted through a gaping hole and dashed in for a 19-yard touchdown to cap of a 1:48 drive.
Later in the quarter, Southwest DeKalb found a grove and strung together an assortment of plays to come within an eyelash of the goal line. However, poor ball security would prove to be the downfall for the Panthers.
While attempting to scramble to his right, backup quarterback Javon Cody, who was playing for injured starter Justin Tomlin, was dragged down and fumbled at the Stephenson two-yard line. The ball rolled into the end zone and was recovered by linebacker Mike Makins.
Although the Jaguars were unable to convert the turnover into points, they did move the ball and flipped the field with a punt. Southwest DeKalb failed to gain any serious yardage on the next possession and the teams went to the break with Stephenson up, 7-0.
The Jaguars added to their lead in the third quarter when D’Vonn Gibbons connected with wide out Marquise Whitmire for a 12-yard touchdown.
Stephenson put the game away with 7:53 left in the fourth when Marson-Knight plunged in for a one-yard score. The senior speedster finished the evening with 19 carries for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just have to give it up to God and my offensive line. If it wasn’t for God and my line, I wouldn’t be able to do this,” said Marson-Knight. “We accomplished a lot tonight. When the hole opens up, you just have to take it and that’s what I did.”
With the win, Stephenson improved to 1-2. Southwest DeKalb now stands at 2-2. The Jaguars have maintained a suffocating grip over the Panthers. Friday’s success marks consecutive shutout triumphs for Stephenson versus Southwest DeKalb. During the team’s six-game winning streak in this series, they’ve outscored the opposition, 174-20. The Jaguars have an 8-5 overall record versus the Panthers.
“We didn’t play like a Southwest DeKalb football team. We worked hard, but tonight, they played better. They wanted it more than we did,” said Panthers interim head coach Fletcher Salter.