LIBERTY CITY – Perfect six – as in, 6-0.
That’s what Sabine High School football is – still unbeaten after six weeks – after taking care of business against Winnsboro here at James Bamberg Stadium on Friday night, homecoming for the Cardinals.
After Erika Lowery was escorted by A.J. Gresham, and declared the 2019 Sabine homecoming queen, it was all business for the Cardinals, who held off a scrappy Winnsboro bunch and picked up a second District 8-3A, Division I win. The Cardinals are 2-0 in district play, and visit one-loss West Rusk next Friday night. That could go a long way in determining not only playoff seeding in the district, but possibly the district champion.
Sabine’s vaunted ground game, with Brannigan Willige rattling off runs of 23 and 18 yards, respectively, got them into field goal position on the first drive, and Fernando Jaimes was uncharacteristically wide left.
Winnsboro came right back, utilizing a strong ground game – maybe the Raiders should have kept it on the ground, because on second and 22, quarterback Trystn Scott aired it out, right to Sabine’s Cayden Fortson, for an interception.
Sabine quarterback Landon McKinney found Clayton Simmons for the first score of the game, a 10-yard pass, and a 7-0 lead after Jaimes’ extra point.
On Winnsboro’s next possession, the Raiders moved the ball, but Sabine forced a turnover on downs. The Cardinals also were forced to punt, early in the second quarter.
Winnsboro’s kicker also sent a field goal attempt wide left, and Sabine made them pay. The Cardinals doubled their lead to 14-0 on a 3-yard run by McKinney.
Sabine’s defense held Winnsboro to a three-and-out, and then the Cardinals got quickly into the red zone. With just under a minute left in the half, McKinney again found Simmons for a 15-yard score, and a 21-0 lead at the half.
Winnsboro ate up over seven minutes of the third-quarter clock after taking the second-half kickoff, and Dominique Allen went the final 9 yards for the Raiders’ first touchdown.
The Raiders forced the Cardinals’ offense to stall after McKinney found Weston Prichard for a 15-yard gain, and Jaimes got another shot at a field goal. He didn’t disappoint, hitting the 34-yarder and putting Sabine up, 24-7.
The Raiders took the ball into the fourth quarter, putting together a 14-play drive. Well into the fourth, the Raiders finally completed their first pass for positive yards. Keen Glover found Allen for an 11-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 24-14. With just six minutes left in the game, the Raiders’ defense forced Sabine to punt, but on four plays, Sabine’s ‘D’ stood up and took over on downs, ending the game.
McKinney had just 57 yards passing, but two touchdowns, both to Simmons, who had 23 yards receiving. McKinney had 128 rushing yards and Willige was the ground-leader, with 141.