Starmount crushes Mitchell in playoff opener

Matthew Gorry Sports Writer

November 21, 2013

BOONVILLE — Starmount rode a 28-point second half to a convincing 42-7 victory over Mitchell in the 1AA playoff opener at home Friday night.

The second-seeded Rams found themselves in a dog fight early, falling behind No. 7 Mitchell 7-0 in the second quarter. But senior Will Simpson and Starmount reeled off 42-unanswered points to cruise to the win.

After the Mountaineers jumped ahead 7-0 on a Cole Burleson three-yard touchdown run, the Rams answered three plays later on a Zach Freed 31-yard scamper to tie the game at 7-all.

Simpson then hauled in an 18-yard pass from Freed to give Starmount a 14-7 lead at the break.

The senior jump-started a ferocious 28-point half to pull away when he returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards for the score. Simpson then found paydirt from 14 yards out late in the quarter to blow the game open at 28-7.

Brandon Lopez added an eight-yard run before Austin Dalton sealed the win with a return touchdown on a blocked point.

The Starmount defense shutdown the Mountaineers, limiting Mitchell to just 181 total yards on the night. The Rams picked off four passes — two apiece by John Johnson and Aaron Skeens — in a dominating effort.

Johnson now has five interceptions in the last two games for the Rams.

Offensively, Starmount racked up 235 rushing yards, led by Freed’s 60 yards from under center. Kyle Matthews added 45 yards, while Skeens tacked on another 31.

Simpson tallied 155 yards of total offense to power the Rams (80 kick-return yards, 49 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards) and three total touchdowns.

Starmount (9-3) will meet third-seeded Cherryville (6-6) in the second round Friday at home.

The Ironmen knocked off Highland Tech 42-13 in their opener.

Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or mgorry@civitasmedia.com.