Though Silver Bluff ultimately ended Week Zero on the losing end at Strom Thurmond, the Bulldogs’ offense showed glimpses of explosiveness to keep the margin of victory from growing any larger.
Silver Bluff’s running game found success against a stingy Rebels defense to the tune of 216 yards. Shaquez Wright led the attack with 94 yards on 16 carries. As if facing Strom Thurmond wasn’t hard enough, the Bulldogs were met with the added degree of difficulty that comes with injuries.
“We only had three running backs from about the middle of the second quarter on,” Silver Bluff head coach Al Lown said. “That was it. Three-for-three.”
Despite some early success moving the football, Silver Bluff found itself trailing 17-0 heading into halftime. A long kickoff return put the Bulldogs in good field position late in the second quarter, but a fumble inside the 10-yard line killed the drive.
The Bulldogs moved it well again on their next possession. They fell short once again as the first half ended as they were entering the red zone.
Silver Bluff quarterback Jaylen Lawrence rushed for 42 yards while completing 5 of 8 passes for 68 yards in his new role, earning high praise from his head coach.
“Our quarterback played really well,” said Lown. “He’s a heck of an athlete. He made some big plays for us.”
One of Lawrence’s biggest plays was the one that resulted in Silver Bluff’s first touchdown. Lawrence eluded the Strom Thurmond rush, reversed field and found McKenzie Wilson flashing across the middle of the field. Wilson dove to break the plane of the end zone, putting the Bulldogs on the board near the end of the third quarter.
“The play was designed to go to the other side,” Lawrence said. “I just tried to scramble and keep my head up and on my receiver. It worked.”
The second half offered a different story than the first for Silver Bluff’s offense, with both drives after the break resulting in touchdowns. Lawrence was efficient on the ground and through the air to lead the second half charge.
“We tried to mix in a little bit of jet sweeps outside, play action passes and then that kinda got them out,” Lown said. “We gave them a few traps and belly plays with Shaquez Wright up the middle. It was a combination of things.”
RJ Stallings rushed for 31 yards on five carries and punctuated Silver Bluff’s scoring with a late touchdown. Myles Corbitt pitched in 38 yards on seven carries.