The Sonoraville defense did their best to hold Darlington off the scoreboard, but eventually the Tigers’ efficient running game broke through to lead them to a non-region home victory.
After a scoreless first half, the Phoenix saw Darlington punch in three touchdowns in the final two quarters, all from running back Kolin Rogers to send Sonoraville to a 20-0 road loss.
Rogers racked up 94 yards to lead the Tigers (3-0) in rushing, and 67 of those yards came in the second half. After an unsuccessful opening possession of the third quarter for Sonoraville (1-1), a short punt set up Darlington with the ball at the Phoenix 20. A few plays later, Rogers put his team ahead with a nine-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.
Sonoraville’s Blade Bryant returned the ensuing kickoff for 78 yards to the Darlington 20 to regain some momentum for his team, but the chance to get back even or cut into the lead wasn’t to be as a short field goal sailed wide right. It was one of three unsuccessful field goal attempts on the night for the Phoenix.
The Tigers added to their lead in the fourth quarter with an efficient drive that was punctuated with a 13-yard touchdown run by Rogers, and then they put the game completely away with an eight-yard TD scamper by Rogers with 3:11 to play in the ballgame. Alex Liddle made 2-of-3 of his extra points on the night for Darlington.
Adding to the Tigers’ rushing night was Demetrius Rogers who had 45 yards on nine carries, and late in the game Luke McDurmon racked up 31 yards on two carries.
The Phoenix struggled to get anything consistent going on offense for much of the night as they were held to a modest night in the yardage department. Colton Whitehead led the rushing totals with 28 yards, and Tre Williams added 15. Sophomore quarterback Cole Godfrey threw for 47 yards on 7-of-13 passing.
It was a defensive battle in the first half as neither team dented the scoreboard. Sonoraville had a couple field goal chances that went unsuccessful from 45 yards and 29 yards.
On the first attempt, Darlington blocked the kick and appeared to be taking the recovery back for a touchdown, but the play was blown dead on an inadvertent whistle. The rule forced a replaying of the down, and on the second attempt the kick fell short.
Sonoraville put together their best drive midway through the second quarter as they converted a fourth down to the Darlington 13 yard line, but the drive stalled on a holding penalty. The second field goal attempt hit off the upright and fell short to give the Tigers back the ball.
Sonoraville’s defense kept Darlington in check for the entire first half as the host Tigers only crossed midfield once and that drive was quickly stopped when the Phoenix defense recovered a fumble courtesy of Case Collins at his own 49. Darlington evened the turnover margin with a fumble recovery of their own in the second half.
The Phoenix jump into 6-AAA play next Friday when they travel the short distance across town to take on rival Calhoun at Phil Reeve Stadium at 7:30 p.m. in the region opener for both teams.