The running backs for No. 2 Southern Lab broke tackles, then propelled themselves ahead of the competition with nothing but green grass and playoff aspirations in front of them Friday night.

Thanks to their nifty running, the Kittens will return to the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs after defeating No. 10 Country Day 39-6 on Friday night.

Southern Lab exerted its dominance early, exiting the field at halftime with a 25-6 lead over the Cajuns. Although the Kittens had four players with over 50 yards rushing, the defense prevented Country Day from reaching the end zone.

After scoring two field goals in the first half, the Cajuns could muster only 53 yards of offense in the second half, unable to keep up with Southern Lab’s explosive run game.

Kittens quarterback Angelo Izzard went 8-of-14 passing with 109 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also racked up 58 yards rushing and another score. His dynamic running back corps included Douglas Thornton with 181 yards and two scores, and Joshua Davis with 53 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Country Day’s two quarterbacks, Michael Talbot and Sinnott Bland, could provide only 40 yards and 64 yards passing, respectively. Running back Scott Isacks recorded 98 yards rushing on 13 carries.

Southern Lab will face No. 14 St. Frederick next week after its upset against No. 6 Vermillion Catholic 31-7.

How it was won

Southern Lab struck quickly, recording its first rushing touchdown in three plays courtesy of Thornton.

The Kittens began to pull away after a 23-yard pass from Izzard to Darren Morris with 4:26 left in the first quarter. They followed it with Thornton’s second touchdown at the start of the second quarter.

Country Day took out Talbot, who was unproductive early, and opted to move Bland from receiver to quarterback. However, Southern Lab was a runaway train that could not be stopped.

Southern Lab came out of halftime with a 17-yard rushing touchdown from Izzard and a 44-yard score from Davis with 9:12 left in the game. The Cajuns had no answers on offense as the Kittens quelled any chance of a comeback.

Players of the game

Douglas Thornton and Shawn Bates, Southern Lab: Thornton rushed for 181 yards on 15 carries and two scores while Bates had 10 carries for 123 yards rushing. Thornton had 173 yards in the first half alone. From bouncing off tackles to pushing off defenders, the duo was responsible for over 300 yards of offense.

They said it

Southern Lab coach Darrell Asberry: “No matter who we face, whether we're on the other side of the map or on this side, we want to punch our ticket. We're focused and a key thing now is finishing.”

Country Day head coach Guy LeCompte: “I’m proud of my guys and we got beat by a better team. We need to get a good offseason program, we need to get stronger. I think you win or lose games in the offseason. I’ve been here before, the offseason is everything in any program. I’m proud of these guys. I don’t think we could’ve gotten anything more out of them.”