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Rebels wear down CHS in season opener

Published 12:48pm Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Reeltown Rebels entered 2014 with designs on using a more explosive offense to handle foes.
Versus Childersburg, though, Reeltown’s tried and true rushing attack sparked a 21-13 win for the Rebels to get them to 1-0 on the season.
After battling to a 7-7 dead heat at the end of the first half, Rebels coach Jackie O’Neal called for the team to get back to its bread and butter, as the smashmouth approach on offense combined with stout defensive play allowed for RHS to come away victorious.
“We weren’t executing as efficiently as I would have liked us to do. So we needed a change of pace.” O’Neal said. “We changed the pace of the game and it clicked for us. We were able to block and run some power plays on them. That was the difference for us.”
The Rebels (1-0, 0-0 in region) appeared to put the game away late in the third quarter, thanks to a bruising 49-yard touchdown romp by Ariko Stewart where he shook off tacklers ¬– and cramps – to give the Rebels a 19-7 lead with 2:26 left in the quarter.
Deonta Canady followed with a successful two-point conversion run to give Reeltown a 14-point advantage.
Stewart finished the night with 74 yards rushing to go along with his score.
“I thought he played exceptionally well, but that’s what we expect of him. He’s supposed to bring his A-game every night,” O’Neal said. “That run was typical of him. They had him stopped after six or seven yards but he probably would have scored without getting caught if he hadn’t been cramping up. When they caught him, his athleticism kicked in and he made an exceptional move to get the ball in the end zone.”
Reeltown’s defense was opportunistic for much of the contest, as they forced three CHS turnovers over a 13-minute span during the first half. The first gaffe by Childersburg came when a high snap went over quarterback Zachary Lightsey’s head and was recovered by Reeltown’s Paul Hodges, who advanced the ball to the Tigers’ 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Ed Carraker pounded the ball into paydirt to put the Rebels on the board with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing Childersburg drive, the Tigers advanced into the redzone but after a big hit by a RHS defender, Hodges again pounced on a forced fumble and rumbled to the 25-yard line.
Reeltown couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and had to punt, but CHS’ Frank Wilkerson muffed a fair catch, and Stewart recovered the ball.
However, Reeltown gave it right back to Childersburg when Bradley McKeithen was picked off.
The Rebels responded in kind as Takoreyon Edwards picked off a Lightsey deep pass.
“I thought that we played pretty stout defense all night. It was a good game for us as far as seeing where we were as far as conditioning and getting the first-game jitters out of the way,” O’Neal said.
The second half was all Rebels as they pounded away on the Childersburg defense, eventually tiring them out.
Reeltown was able to break through on the first drive of the third quarter, when a drive that started on RHS’ own 21-yard line saw the Rebels convert two fourth downs, including the final play where McKeithen hit a sliding Alex Giddens for a 4-yard touchdown strike to give his team a 13-7 lead.
From there, Stewart, Carraker, Canady and Cody Martin handled the rest and outside of a late score by Childersburg where Lightsey found Hunter McCain for a score from 10 yards out late in the fourth, Reeltown was able to dictate the rest of the game.
“I felt good about this ballclub, period. It was big for us because we were tired of beating up on each other … we needed to play somebody, and Childersburg is a quality opponent that’s going to win some ballgames this year” O’Neal said. “I’m glad we were able to get the win, personally, but I’m also happy it came against a good opponent.”
Reeltown held CHS to 200 total yards of offense, and outrushed the Tigers 222-42.
Martin led all runners with 74 yards on 19 carries. Carraker ran for 38 yards on 10 carries, and McKeithen was 5-for-14 for 33 yards.

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