Stanhope Elmore was simply the better team Friday night in a 47-0 win over visiting Chilton County. Don’t be mistaken, Chilton County did have a few highlights: its band gave a stirring halftime performance and no one was injured getting off the bus or standing on the sidelines while hometown seniors were recognized.
But, when the football was put into play — it was all about the Mustangs.
Now, it could have simply been a case of wrong place, wrong time for the peach and blue Tigers of Clanton as they happened to be on the schedule the week after Stanhope Elmore dropped a 35-25 decision to the Pelham Panthers, getting shredded for a combined 243 rushing yards in the process.
Stanhope Elmore’s first-half stats speak for themselves and tell the story of a focused week of practice.
The Mustang defense — through the first two quarters Friday night — held Chilton County to (-)15 yards of total offense while forcing turnovers aplenty and rattling off 41 unanswered points.
“(Our defense) played lights out,” Stanhope coach Brian Bradford said. “They played very stingy up front and led us again just like they always do. We finally got back to playing like we are supposed to do.”
According to Bradford, the Mustangs, who defeated winless Benjamin Russell 41-9 before the Pelham loss, needed a game like Friday night.
“We’re not down or anything like that,” Bradford said. “We just felt like we didn't play like we should have (against Pelham, last week) and wanted to come out and get everything back on track and play football like we are supposed to … just come out and start hitting on all cylinders.”
The Mustangs found their gallop early, forcing Chilton County’s punter to shank a wobbly, spiral of a kick off his leg for nine yards.
“We played with a great intensity (Friday night),” senior defensive lineman Kaleb Stokes said. “And we came out and got the ‘W.’”
Stanhope Elmore needed only two plays to put the game out of reach. Antonio Trone took the first carry 18 yards. Teddy Harris carried the ball 23 on play two for the touchdown. With the point after, the Mustangs pushed ahead 7-0.
After failing to convert a fourth-and-two on their next possession, the Mustangs defense took the field giving Patrick Williams the opportunity to get his name in the paper with an interception.
“I love those guys (the defense),” Bradford said. “They are a fun bunch and do a great job each week.”
Williams pulled down Sam Smith's pass at the 48.
Trone put the offense in motion with a 21-yard gain. Trey Killingsworth — the Mustangs signal-caller — went to work dissecting the Tigers. The senior completed passes to Chase Eddings (34 yards) and Jackson Thomas (23 yards) before Amahji
“(Killingsworth) gets better every single week,” Bradford said. “He’s a tremendous leader with talent. He ran the ball well and threw the ball well; he played a great game (Friday night).”
Truss ended the drive with a pair of runs (nine-yards and 13 yards) for the score.
The point after was errant, but the hometown horses remained in control ending the opening period with a 13-0 lead.
Quarter 2, the Mustangs found themselves looking to convert their second fourth down of the night. Harris, on fourth and one, again took the direct snap. This time though, he slipped through a tackle and raced down the field for 55 yards before being forced out of bounds. On first and goal Killingsworth handed off to Harris to finish the drive, scoring from 10 yards out.
With the successful two-point conversion, the Mustangs led 21-0 with 8:50 to go before the break.
Chilton County, on the ensuing possession, was allowed one yard but still had to punt.
Harris scrambled for 27 yards, moving the ball across midfield.
Killingsworth completed passes to Thomas (12 yards) and then tossed a touchdown pass to DJ McGhee (29 yards out) who never had to break stride for the score.
With the kick, the tally moved to 28-0 with 6:32 left before intermission.
Chilton County’s offensive quagmire grew deeper as, on second and 11, Smith’s toss to running back Kevin Staffney was mishandled and then pounced upon by a host of charcoal and maroon jerseys.
Justin Motley came up with the ball for the Mustangs.
A pair of runs by Truss moved Stanhope Elmore’s offense inside the 25-yard line.
Killingsworth completed an 8-yard pass to Harris along the sideline then kept the ball on a read-option dragging members of the Tigers secondary with him into the end zone for the score.
With 4:11 to go before the concession stands grew in popularity, the Mustangs lead blossomed to 35-0.
Smith’s night continued to get worse as William Whitlow led a Mustangs defensive unit meeting in the Chilton County backfield. Smith was dropped for a 10-yard loss.
After punting from their own end zone, Stanhope Elmore was poised to punch another one before the break.
Killingsworth completed a pair of passes to Harris for back-to-back first downs.
Trone gained nine on the next snap and set the Mustangs up with another first and goal.
Killingsworth faked the give to the back and fired a bullet to Eddings for the score.
A jubilant group of Mustangs headed to the locker room with a 41-0 lead.
“(Bradford) said keep the same intensity, the game’s not over with,” said Stokes. “Keep punching them in the mouth.”
Now, Chilton County started the third period by making a stand and forcing the Mustangs to punt for the first time. Smith’s punt was ugly but effective, wobbling and meandering its way downfield for 43 yards.
Staffney, on first down, broke free on his longest carry of the night: 4 yards.
The Mustangs proceeded to shut that down and force a punt.
The punt bounced at the Mustangs 23 and was fielded on a bounce by Harris who proceeded to pinball his way down the field for a 77-yard touchdown return.
The point after was errant, but irrelevant at this point as the game reached its final mark of 47-0.
Both teams, in the second, began making substitutions to allow the younger players to gain experience.