The Stone Memorial Panthers’ ownership of the rivalry with Cumberland County extended another season on Friday, as SMHS rolled to a 49-6 victory over the Jets.
“This is the first time we were healthy all year,” said Panther coach Derik Samber. “The bye week and fall break was a good thing.
“Our tempo was a big thing,” Samber added. “We really wanted conditioning to take over and be a big piece. We ran 54 plays in the first half.”
The win was Stone Memorial’s ninth straight against CCHS.
The Panther defense put on its best performance of the season, giving up only six points and only 39 yards.
“Coach (John) Dryden does a great job with our defense and our strength and conditioning,” Samber added.
Stone Memorial was in control from the opening kick. Literally.
Stone Memorial recovered a Jet fumble on the game’s opening kickoff, setting the tone early.
After trading possessions early, Stone Memorial got on the board at the 7:22 mark of the first quarter when Zach Street rushed in from three yards out. Lineman Austin Gilmer rushed in the two-point conversion, putting the Panthers up 8-0.
SMHS quarterback Bryant Carter followed Street’s lead, rushing in for a touchdown of his own with 1:01 left in the opening period. Calvin Wyatt added the PAT to go ahead 15-0.
The Panthers scored three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter: a Nick Coble 22-yard run, a Street 15-yard run and a Carter one-yard sneak. Stone Memorial led 35-0 at halftime.
Stone Memorial tacked on two touchdowns in the third period, both via Carter. The sophomore gunslinger rushed in a one-yard touchdown run and threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jamell Grayer. Stone Memorial led 49-0 after three quarters.
Cumberland County got on the board in the fourth quarter as quarterback Braden Tollett found Ronald Martin in the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown pass, making the final score 49-6.
“Tollett extended a play,” said CCHS coach Eric Belew. “The protection broke down, and Ronald Martin did a great job at extending the play as well. We’re excited about what Tollett brings.”
“Our kids were motivated to play,” Samber said. “They’ve worked hard all year.”
Carter had a career night for SMHS, going 11-16 for 121 yards and a touchdown through the air and recording 89 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
“We put a lot on our quarterback in our system,” said Samber said about Carter. “There is not a kid that works harder. Bryant deserves to taste that success.”
Defensively, Gary Burkhamer pulled down two Panther interceptions, along with one by Andre Flores.
The win puts Stone Memorial at 2-6 overall and guarantees SMHS a berth in the playoffs.
“I told our kids I’m proud of them,” said Samber. “I also asked them what we do with this. This is a big win. We saw what we’re capable of.”
Stone Memorial will travel to Smith County for a non-region contest this Friday.
For Cumberland County, the Jets are 0-8 and have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
“They played hard, and we didn’t match their intensity,” added Belew. “We’ve got to understand if we’re going to be competitive, we’ve got to match intensity. What we’re doing right now won’t get it done.”
The Jets host Bledsoe County Friday at 7 p.m.