PELAHATCHIE — Pillow Academy closed the regular season with a thumping of East Rankin to carry a four-game win streak into the postseason.
The Mustangs led 30-0 at the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 51-12 victory here on a rainy Friday night. Pillow (5-5) gets a first-round bye in the playoffs this week and will host the East Rankin-Simpson winner on Nov. 10 in the State AAAA Division II semifinals.
“It was a good team win from a lot of angles. All the plays we made were spread out across the board,” PA coach Tripp McCarty said. “We did what we came down here to do — stay on a roll. We came in hot and left even hotter.”
Pillow rolled up 237 total yards in the first half against the struggling Patriots, now losers of six straight, while holding them to minus-15.
On the first play of the game, the Patriots (4-7) snapped the ball over the head of the quarterback, and PA senior linebacker Luke Fondren fell on the ball in the end zone and the rout was on.
The Mustangs then scored on their next two possessions for a 21-0 lead with 4:06 left in the first quarter. Floyd Melton IV had a 13-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Shane Houston Stephens hit Melton with a 37-yard scoring pass.
Stephens closed out the first-quarter scoring with a 14-yard TD toss to senior wide receiver Eli Burton.
In the second quarter, senior A.J. Woodard had a 3-yard scoring jaunt, while sophomore Jacob Bush found the end zone for the first time this season on a 3-yard run. Freshman quarterback Christian Belk capped off the scoring with 1:26 remaining before half with a 24-yard touchdown scamper.
Freshman Eli Simmons led PA in rushing with 111 yards on eight carries. Melton was next with 66 yards on five attempts. Belk had 51 yards on three rushes.
“We got to see some good things from our freshmen who have moved up and some of the others guys who don’t play as much. And that always makes you feel good about the future of the program,” McCarty said.
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