Southern Lab coach Darrell Asberry was ejected early in the second half, but the Kittens’ game against Riverside Academy was over long before that.
Despite falling behind 7-0 early in the first quarter, the Kittens stormed back to a dominate 36-13 win over Riverside (0-1), scoring 28 points in the first half alone.
Asberry was ejected for pushing an official thinking it was an assistant coach. A series of flags on top of Asberry’s resulted in a total of 35 yards in penalties.
The ejection, and a subsequent pick-six by Riverside cornerback David Reynaud, seemed to turn the tide for the Rebels, but the damage had already been done. Riverside also forced two fumbles in the second half, but failed to capitalize on those opportunities.
“There’s a lesson in everything, and hopefully this is the last time we’re in this situation,” Riverside coach Kevin Dizer said. “You have to continue to push the guys and they did an OK job with it.”
Southern Lab’s backfield dominated throughout the games, with running back Charvis Thorton totaling 190 yards rushing and Tyrion Davis adding 170 yards rushing. Dizer knew that the key to beating Southern Lab would be to stop its backfield, but his defense could not stifle the Kittens’ dual backs.
With four minutes left in the half, Thorton carried the ball eight straight times for 65 yards, which concluded with a touchdown.
“(Davis) is more pounding and (Charvis) is one that can slash and all,” Asberry said. “It’s good to have those two guys. I don’t have problems with them getting reps. They split time with each other, without any complaining and that’s unusual.”
Southern Lab (1-0) got off to a hot start in the second half, opening with a two-play, 58-yard drive. Davis had both carries, one for nine yards and another 49-yard touchdown run to put the Kittens up 36-7 at the start of the third quarter.
Neither team relied heavily on the passing game, totaling only 14 plays in the air combined, and Riverside did not complete a pass in the second half.
Riverside’s offensive line struggled to give quarterback Gage Larvadain time under center, and he was often left scrambling with the ball, only to throw it out of bounds.
“Hats off to the offensive and defensive line,” Asberry said. “We finally played team ball. We’ve been talking about four quarters and trying to finish strong, and I was very proud of the team for getting off to a good start.”