RED SPRINGS — Last season, a stopped two-point conversion lifted Red Springs over Midway in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Red Devils left no doubt this time around.
Red Springs trailed by three for a 20-second blink in the first quarter before scoring 56 unanswered points the rest of the way for a 62-9 rout of the Raiders at The Inferno in the first round of the 1AA state playoffs.
“We just wanted to make a statement,” junior quarterback Blake Greene said.
The reigning county offensive player of the year did that to the tune of 231 yards on 8-of-14 passing with three touchdowns on tosses of 43, 10 and 21 yards. He added a 16-yard scoring run, bringing his touchdown total to 55 on the year, during Red Springs’ 27-point first quarter.
It’s the kind of performance Red Springs head coach George Coltharp has grown accustomed to seeing from his all-county quarterback.
“Blake’s good,” Coltharp said matter-of-factly. The rest of the Red Devils were no slouches either. The Red Springs offense produced 334 yards while the defense held Midway to 178, limiting the Raiders to just 37 in the second half.
“We told them championships are won with great defense, great special teams and taking care of the ball on offense,” Coltharp said. “We did those things.”
The special teams especially delivered. The Red Devils found the end zone twice on blocked punt returns — both by CJ McGeachey, who scored on returns of 45 and 25 yards — and reached paydirt on an 85-yard kick return by Jadarian “Doody” Lesane. His return kick-started the Red Devils’ 56-0 scoring run.
McGeachey added three catches for 90 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown pass in the third.
Offensively, Red Springs fell into a groove right out of the gate.
On the game’s opening drive, Greene evaded a sack by spinning of a tackler and shifted nine yards for a new set of downs before firing a screen pass to Zach Leach who stiff-armed his man down the sideline for a 45-yard gain. A snap later, Lesane rushed in a 10-yard touchdown to give the Devils a quick 6-0 lead with less than two minutes gone by.
Lesane accounted for 107 kick return yards and added 84 yards rushing on five rushes, charting 16.8 yards a carry.
“It’s the team,” Lesane said. “The offensive line blocked for me and the kick return team blocked for me. It felt good. I’m just glad we won.”
Greene polished off the first-half scoring with a 16-yard run up the gut and a 43-yard touchdown pass to Leach, who finished with four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
“We just tried to take advantage of their corners, they weren’t very fast and weren’t very athletic,” Greene said. “We just found the weak spots in their defense and took advantage of them.”
The Red Devils’ scoring ease was epitomized with 2:47 left in the third. Facing 4th-and-18 at Midway’s 21, Greene feathered a high-rising pass into the end zone that Jameson Baker came down with on a leaping grab. The score widened Red Springs’ lead to 55-9.
“We’re just peaking at the right time and gonna keep playing football,” Green said. “We just want to show everybody that we can play in the playoffs.”
Reach Sports Editor Kaleb Roedel at 910-272-6111 or email@example.com.