Smiths Station 35, Beauregard 20: Panthers clinch victory in fourth quarter

Fullback Reynolds rushes 10 times for 51 yards

abrenner@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 28, 2012 

OPELIKA, Ala. -- Smiths Station senior fullback Preston Reynolds didn't much care for being chucked to the ground and having his helmet ripped off.

So he went out and made Beauregard pay the price.

Reynolds bullied his way to a furious fourth-quarter effort, forcing his will to help the Panthers finish off a come-from-behind 35-20 upset triumph on the home field of AHSAA Class 4A fourth-ranked Beauregard Friday night.

Spurred by becoming the beneficiary of a controversial call going into halftime, Smiths Station (3-2) outgained Beauregard (4-1) 122-0 in the fourth quarter, when Reynolds rushed 10 times for 51 yards and trucking a Beauregard defender as the exclamation point on his 4-yard game-clinching touchdown.

Actually, it was a loss of one that might have been his most important carry of the final quarter, when Smiths Station started out with a 1-point lead.

Reynolds was stopped short on 3rd-and-11, but Beauregard's defense threw him down wrestling-style and tore off his helmet, inciting a 15-yard personal foul and a fresh set of downs.

Tailback Devonte Marshall polished off that drive with a 13-yard score, extending the Panthers' advantage to 28-20.

"When they tackled me on that earlier run and my helmet came off, it kind of made me mad," the 5-foot-9 1/2, 169-pound Reynolds said. "It just hit a nerve, so I knew I had to go at it even harder than I was before, so I went all out."

Reynolds, a tough customer in just his second start after rotating through most the season's first half, also scored on 4th-and-1 in the first quarter, totaling a game-high 89 yards on 21 carries.

Junior quarterback Jerrell Gilmore completed 9-of-17 passes for 179 yards, running and passing for two total touchdowns.

Defensively, the Panthers locked down on Beauregard junior wide receiver Trey Collins after burning Smiths Station in the first half - scoring touchdowns three different ways on a rush, catch and kickoff return.

"He's a great athlete, great player. We mixed some things up, tried to get a little more pressure on the quarterback," Smiths Station coach Mark Rose said. "Just mixed out coverages up a little bit, disguised a few things, and we told our guys, just find No. 1."

Collins' 77-yard kickoff return for a score gave Beauregard a 20-14 lead with 5 minutes, 9 seconds left in the second quarter, but that was the last points the Hornets would gain.

A compelling first half concluded wildly. Smiths Station converted a 4th-and-1, plunging to the Beauregard 7-yard line, and the clock stopped with 0.9 seconds to go in the half.

Having used all three of their timeouts, the Panthers rushed to the line. When the ball was set and clock winded, time appeared to expire before Gilmore took the snap, and players on both teams stopped playing at full speed, expecting stoppage of play for halftime.

When no whistle intervened, Gilmore alertly rushed around left end, thrusting across the goal line as he was tackled, and a touchdown was called on the field.

"I didn't know what was going on. I thought they blew the play dead, and they didn't," Gilmore said. "I was thinking in my head, run the ball, so I just kept going. We needed to score before half to get back up, and we got it."

After the referees conferred, the call stood, and Smiths Station took a 21-20 lead into the locker room as irate Hornets coaches screeched their dissent at the officials.

"The back judge told the white hat the clock ran out, and the white hat called what he called," Beauregard head coach SmittyGrider said. "We've got them stopped, we're getting the ball coming out of the half with the lead. That was a huge play in the game.

"I think our kids got a little flustered with all the calls going on in the game, and got away from what we were doing early."

This was the programs' first meeting since 1983, but Smiths Station extended its series sweep of an intra-county rival to nine victories.

Time of possession was kind to Smiths Station, running 71 plays to Beauregard's 39.

The Panthers had 39 of the final 45 first-half snaps, including the last 24, sandwiched around Collins' special-teams touchdown.

Beauregard quarterback David Winslett completed his first six passes, for 87 yards, but failed on his last eight deliveries, including interceptions by Tre Harris and Marcus Maddox.

Friday at Hornets Stadium

Smiths Station 0 21 0 14--35

Beauregard 7 13 0 0--20

First quarter

B - Trey Collins 3 run (Robert Scott kick), 5:49

Second quarter

SS - Preston Reynolds 1 run (Harrison Jones kick), 10:30

B - Collins 27 pass from David Winslett (kick failed), 8:01

SS - LeDarion Heath 4 pass from Jerell Gilmore (Jones kick), 5:25

B - Collins 77 kick return (Scott kick), 5:09

SS - Gilmore 7 run( Jones kick), 0:00

Fourth quarter

SS - Devonte Marshall 13 run (Jones kick), 10:14

SS - Reynolds 4 run (Jones kick), 5:22

Records: Smiths Station 2-2; Beauregard 4-0. Next: Smiths Station, home vs. R.E. Lee, Friday, 8 p.m.

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