Eagles soar in victory over Vols

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By Kim Roberts

PAGELAND, Death. Taxes. Andrew Jackson getting beat by Central of Pageland.

Central of Pageland sprinted to a 36-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 50-3 shellacking of Andrew Jackson in a Conference IV-AA football tilt Friday night.

Central defeated the Vols for the 14th consecutive year and has captured 27 out of the past 28 contests with AJ.

“We were beat by a very good football team,” said AJ coach Elmer Bench. “Central played very traditional football by whipping us in the trenches.”

Central started fast, scoring on its first two possessions for an early 14-0 lead.

After a 41-yard kickoff return by Volunteer Gavin Clyburn, AJ drove to the Eagles’ five-yard line. On third and goal from the five, CHS cornerback De’aja Blakeney picked off an errant pass at the goal line, and raced 100 yards for a back-breaking touchdown.

Mardu Smith added the two-point conversion to up the Eagles lead to 22-0, with 44.2 seconds left in the first quarter.

“The pick-six was a back-breaker for us,” Bench said. “We did a good job in driving down to the five, but give them credit, they made a big play.”

The Volunteer defense played hard and Gavin Clyburn thwarted a Central drive by picking off Eagle quarterback Jowan Henderson. Clyburn intercepted at the AJ 15 and returned it 38 yards to the CHS 47.

Central drove 80 yards late in the second quarter for a touchdown.

Henderson threw a TD strike from the AJ 27 with 42.1 seconds left in the half. Keegan Funderburk caught a pass from Henderson for the two-point conversion.

Central recovered a Volunteer fumble at the AJ 35 with 26.1 seconds left in the half.

Three plays later, CHS’s Funderburk made an acrobatic catch from the 24-yard line for a touchdown that made the score 36-0 at the half.

The Volunteer woes continued when a CHS defensive tackle intercepted a tipped Henderson pass at the AJ 28 and rambled to the 13-yard line.

Three plays later, the CHS fullback bulled into the end zone from the one-yard line to extend the lead to 42-0.

Near the end of the third quarter, Eagles’ running back Kotedric Clyburn swept four yards for the last CHS touchdown. Kirkland added the two-point conversion to up the lead to 50-0.

The Volunteers drove to the CHS 31 before the drive stalled. AJ kicker Tyler Denkins drilled a 48 yard field goal to end the scoring at 50-3.

Henderson paced the AJ offense with 54 yards rushing on 12 attempts. Henderson also completed 7-17 passes for 53 yards. Trent Flowers added 29 yards on eight carries.

Ryan Miller caught five passes for 43 yards. Gavin Clyburn had one reception for six yards. Ricky Wilson caught a pass for four yards.

AJ falls to 3-6,1-3 and hosts Lee Central of Bishopville on Friday.

Lee Central, 0-4, 4-5, dropped a 25-20 home loss to Eau Claire on Friday in region play.

Central, 7-2, 4-0, visits Columbia on Friday night.