Stallings Island Middle School’s football team used a strong running game and a couple of opportune interceptions to toll Tuesday night to the team’s first undefeated season.
The Red Hawks (6-0) downed Lakeside Middle (4-2) 32-8, never trailing in the game and allowing the Panthers’ offense to score only in the final minute of the game.
Stallings Island grabbed the momentum early, with J.T. Taylor scoring after an interception by Jackson Wingard, and Tre Gibson scoring again on a 65 yard run after picking up a Lakeside fumble.
Gibson scored again on a three-yard plunge with 1:05 left in the half, and then opened the third quarter by picking off another interception from a Lakeside halfback pass for a touchdown.
The Red Hawks couldn’t make extra point kicks throughout the game, but managed a two-point conversion on the fourth score of the game to go up 26-0 with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
On the next play, Taylor snagged another interception on a halfback pass and two plays later Giavanni McCoy punched in another Stallings Island touchdown to take the score to 32-0.
The Panthers’ Johnny Jackson scored on a 17-yard run with just more than a minute left to put Lakeside on the board, and Hunner Jones ran in the conversion to end the game at 32-8.
After coach Casey Heckthorn received the traditional cooler dunking from his players, both teams gathered at midfield for a pep talk from Lakeside High School coach Jarrett Troxler.
Both schools feed into Lakeside High, and Troxler’s staff handed the players Lakeside Panther T-shirts to remind them that the eighth-graders will play for the same team next year.