Airport couldn’t find an answer for Strom Thurmond’s Chad Gilchrist or Jauveer Hammond on Friday night.
Gilchrist rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns, while Hammond rushed for 98 yards and a score and passed for 141 yards and a score as the Rebels made light work of the Eagles 39-7 at Airport Stadium.
“They’ve been solid for the last 10 years, and they don’t have any weak spots,” Eagles coach Kirk Burnett said of the Rebels (6-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-3A). “That’s why they’re constantly playing in championship games. I told all our guys that we’d have to have played a perfect game, but those early mistakes cost us.”
Airport (1-6, 0-2) had four interceptions, including two in the first half, and struggled to move the ball against a vaunted Strom Thurmond defense that held the Eagles to 223 yards.
“This was probably the best game our defense has played,” Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer said. “We gave up that long bomb (Airport’s only score), but our secondary came up with four picks, and they haven’t had a pick going into Week 7.”
The Rebels went to work on the opening drive, marching 73 yards in 10 plays. They took a 7-0 lead on Deandre Ryan’s 6-yard touchdown run at the 6:02 mark of the first quarter.
Strom Thurmond made it 19-0 with two scores by the midway point of the second quarter. The first came on Kendall Hall’s 76-yard catch-and-run and the second on Chad Gilchrist’s 37-yard run.
Airport stopped the Rebels deep into Eagles territory on one series, then struck quickly on the possession that followed. On first down at the Eagles’ 27, quarterback Dylan Harrington floated a pass to Kadarius Jackson on the right sideline.
Jackson pulled it in and scampered the rest of the way at the 2:18 mark of the second quarter for Airport’s only score.
Strom Thurmond got that score back with a Hammond 2-yard TD run with 22 seconds to go.
“We took it back down and scored with 20 seconds to go in the half, and that was huge,” Sawyer said.
The Rebels rolled up 336 yards of offense in the first half, compared to Airport’s 167.
After a scoreless third, Gilchrist rushed for two scores in the fourth quarter.
The Strom Thurmond defense held the Eagles to 56 yards —14 rushing yards and 42 passing — in the second half.
“We’re going through a bad trial right now, and we’ve just got to fight through it,” Burnett said. “We’ve just got to find our way through it.”
S – Deandre Ryan 6 run (Cole Fell kick) 6:02
S – Kendall Hill 76 pass from Jauveer Hammond (kick blocked) 9:50
S – Chad Gilchrist 37 run (kick blocked) 6:06
A – Kadarius Jackson 73 pass from Dylan Harrington (Brady Nelson kick) 2:18
S – Hammond 2 run (Fell kick) :22
S – Gilchrist 29 run (kick failed) 11:21
S – Gilchrist 4 run (Fell kick) 7:38
RUSHING – Strom Thurmond, Hammond 13-98, Gilchrist 15-153, Bates 7-35, Ryan 3-25, Chinn 2-14, Watkins 6-22, Stidem 2-7, Talbert 1-(-2). Airport, Bradley 14-71, Harrington 5-(-7).
PASSING – Strom Thurmond, Hammond 13-7-0. Airport, Harrington 22-11-4.
RECEIVING – Strom Thurmond, Ryan 0-0, Hill 0-0, Harris 0-0. Airport, Mertz 5-47, Allen 1-3, Jackson 3-104, Price 1-2, Jenkins 1-3.