SMITHS STATION, Ala. -- If the first game of Jason Dukes' tenure at Smiths Station is any indication, the Panthers' move into Class 7A football will be a showcase through the air.
New starting quarterback Dalton Sinquefield rebounded from a trio of first-half turnovers to record 407 passing yards and four touchdowns Friday night as Smiths Station (1-0) defeated Americus-Sumter (0-1) by a score of 38-13 in its season opener.
Sinquefield spread the wealth among his teammates as four different receivers -- Tre Trimble, Austin Taylor, Armani Reedy and Marquis Bowens -- each recorded a touchdown for Smiths Station. Running back Khalil Johnson also found the end zone for the hosts with a 21-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter.
Smiths Station took advantage of Americus' offensive inconsistencies with a pair of forced turnovers and a key fourth-down stop early in the game. Do-it-all back Wesley Fields, who compiled more than 250 all-purpose yards and a pair of long touchdown runs, led the visitors offensively.
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The host Panthers' new up-tempo attack stormed into Americus territory on the first drive of the game, but Sinquefield threw an off-target effort that gave the ball to the visitors.
Smiths Station responded to the early turnover by forcing a 3-and-out on Americus' first drive, and Sinquefield was on target a few quick plays later with a 5-yard bullet pass to the senior Trimble, the Panthers' lone returning offensive starter.
The two starting quarterbacks traded fumbles later in the opening quarter, but Smiths Station was able to capitalize on Yancie's miscue with a 3-play, 44-yard touchdown drive. Sinquefield capped the quick possession by finding Taylor in the middle of the end zone for an 11-yard score.
The defenses took the spotlight in the second quarter with star Smiths Station linebacker Amonte Caban stopping a potential fourth-down conversion deep in the Americus backfield. The hosts' ensuing drive was stopped inside the red zone, and kicker Harrison Jones pulled his 39-yard field goal attempt wide right.
An untouched Yancie fumbled the ball at the Smiths Station goal line late in the half, but the hosts turned it over once again on Sinquefield's second interception of the night.
Americus' offense ran out of time after Yancie's injury on the final possession of the half, keeping the score 14-0 at halftime.
Smiths Station kept firing out of the break as Sinquefield found Armani Reedy on a quick screen pass that turned into a 39-yard touchdown. Fields took over full-time quarterback duties in the second half, and his first play of scrimmage was an 82-yard scramble for Americus' first points of the night.
Sinquefield put together another instant response, once again on a screen pass. Sinquefield bought enough time for running back Bowens to have a wide-open lane on a middle screen that he took for 58 yards and another score.
Smith Station's junior quarterback ended his night by breaking the 400-yard mark on a lengthy pass to end the third quarter. Johnson walked into the end zone on a 21-yard run to open the fourth quarter and make it 35-7.
After an Americus fumble, Jones made up for his early miss by connecting on a 43-yard field goal that kissed the upright and snuck over the bar. But the visitors would not go down quietly as Fields found the end zone on a 66-yard run. The ensuing extra-point attempt was blocked, and the score would remain 38-13 through the final whistle.
Friday at Smiths Station
Americus-Sumter 0 0 7 6--13
Smiths Station 14 0 14 10--38
SSHS: Tre Trimble 5 pass from Dalton Sinquefield (Harrison Jones kick), 7:56
SSHS: Austin Taylor 11 pass from Sinquefield (Jones kick), 1:40
SSHS: Armani Reedy 39 pass from Sinquefield 39 pass (Jones kick), 7:37
ASHS: Wesley Fields 82 run (Eric Davis kick), 7:07
SSHS: Marquis Bowens 57 pass from Sinquefield (Jones kick), 5:28
SSHS: Khalil Johnson 21 run (Jones kick), 11:50
SSHS: Jones 43 field goal, 10:00
ASHS: Fields 66 run (Davis kick block), 8:27