PETTICOAT JUNCTION — Near the end of the third quarter, there was a scary moment in the high school football game between Silver Bluff and Midland Valley. RJ Stallings, the Bulldogs star wing was injured on a run up the middle, and the game was stopped for close to 20 minutes as he was taken off the field in a stretcher and taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center as a precaution.
That was about the only thing that could slow down the offense in Friday’s high-scoring game that Silver Bluff won 53-33.
Longtime Bulldog head coach Al Lown said Stallings was bent over on the play when he was injured.
“He hurt his back,” Lown said of Stallings, who could be seen moving his arms and legs after the hit and waved his arms to the delight of teammates and the crowd as he was taken from the field. “I’m going to swing by to check on him, but we may not know for sure until tomorrow.”
“We’re saying prayers for RJ,” Midland Valley head coach Rick Knight said. “I hope he’s okay.”
Stallings, the Aiken Standard Player of the Week for his performance last Friday, was having another tremendous game. He was part of a nearly unstoppable Silver Bluff (4-1) rushing game that amassed 479 yards on 45 carries. Stallings carried the ball eight times for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Stallings effectively put the game out of reach when he opened the second half with a 68-yard touchdown run on the first pay from scrimmage. That bumped the Bulldogs’ lead to 20 points, and the Mustangs (2-2) never got closer than three scores down the rest of the contest.
“Our offensive line did a great job, the credit belongs to them,” Lown said of the game that was a far cry from the typical showdown between these teams, who combined for a series-high 24 points last year. “We felt like we could run the ball and we had success tonight.”
Knight said his team knew what the Bulldogs were going to do, his players just couldn’t stop it.
“We knew what was coming and couldn’t stop it,” Knight said of his team which has surrendered 163 points in four games. “We told (the players) what the play was going to be and it didn’t matter. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board on defense.”
While there are certainly issues with the Midland Valley defense, much credit belongs to Silver Bluff. It wasn’t just Stallings doing damage. Lead back Shaquez Wright was the game’s top rusher with 195 yards on 20 carries. He had two touchdowns, including an 87-yard run through the heart of the Mustang defense in the fourth quarter. Myles Corbitt was also a major contributor, scoring twice on 11 carries that covered 71 yards.
Even quarterback Jaylen Lawrence had a big run, converting a critical first down in the third quarter when Midland valley was trying mount a rally. He didn’t have many opportunities to pass the ball but Lawrence made the most of them. He complete 3 of 5 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown to – who else – Stallings.
“I told him to be patient,” Lown said of his quarterback who also had a 1-yard touchdown plunge. “I told him they’re going to fall asleep on you and they did.”
While the Bulldogs were spectacular with the ball, the Mustangs were nearly as good. They actually jumped out to a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game when quarterback Daniel Carr connected with Trenton Baughman on a 67-yard touchdown pass.
Carr had a very good game, completing 16 of 24 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. His top target, as usual, was Kameron Brown.
What Knight said about his defense being unable to stop what it knew was coming also applied to Brown. Many of Carr’s passes were in the second half in obvious passing situations when he was obviously looking for Brown down the field. In spite of that knowledge, Brown still had a monster game, making nine receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. He even completed a 47-yard pass to Baughman.
“The offensive kids made good plays,” Knight said of his offense that gained 466 yards and saw five different players make a reception to go along with 67 rushing yards from Daniel Carr and 94 from Dré Carr on 15 carries that included two touchdowns. “Other kids are making plays when it’s their turn.”
The difference was the Mustangs were stopped a few times while the Bulldogs rarely were.
“We knew they were explosive and they got a bunch of yards,” said Lown, whose team will enjoy a bye next week. “We made enough stops and had a great game on offense. I’m pleased, we’ve come a long way and have a bunch of tough kids.”
Midland Valley will face another tough challenge next week when they play host to Baptist Hill, one of the top Class A teams in the state.
“We’ve got a lot of tweaking to do, and maybe some soul searching,” Knight said of getting back on the winning track.
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.
MV 13 0 6 14 – 33
SB 7 20 19 7 – 53
MV–Daniel Carr 67 pass to Trenton Baughman (Jaquan McCorkle kick good) 10:13.
SB–RJ Stallings 16 run (Nick Casares kick good) 7:50.
MV–Dre’ Carr 19 run (McCorkle kick no good) 6:05.
SB–Jaylen Lawrence 1 run (Casares kick good) 8:52.
SB–Shaquez Wright 5 run (Casares kick good) 6:15.
SB–Myles Corbitt 1 run (Casares kick no good) 0:35.
SB–Stallings 68 run (Casares kick no good) 11:42.
SB–Lawrence 19 pass to Stallings (Casares kick good) 7:51.
MV–Daniel Carr 10 pass to Kameron Brown (McCorkle kick no good) 6:21.
SB–Corbitt 16 run (Casares kick no good) 1:47.
MV–Daniel Carr 2 run (Daniel Carr 2-point pass to Dre’ Carr) 10:11
SB–Wright 87 run (Casares kick good) 9:13.
MV–Dre’ Carr 3 run (2-point pass failed) 6:25.
MV–Dre’ Carr 15-94 2TDs, Daniel Carr 14-67 1TD, Jiamon Settles 1-5.
SB–Shaquez Wright 20-195 2TDs, RJ Stallings 8-182 2TDs, Myles Corbitt 11-71 2TDs, Deangilo Drayton 3-21, Jaylen Lawrence 2-10.
MV–Daniel Carr 16-24-300 2TDs, 1INT, Kameron Brown 1-1-47.
SB–Jaylen Lawrence 3-5-36 1TD.
MV–Kameron Brown 9-154 1TD, Trenton Baughman 3-113 1TD, Dre’ Carr 1-30, Logan Wheat 1-26, Stephon Morency 3-24.
SB–RJ Stallings 1-19 1TD, Jalen Douse 1-9, McKenzie Wilson 1-8.
SB– Gyasi Yeldell 1-0.