South running back Julian Reed and quarterback Luke Pollack both scored twice to rally the Rebels (3-1) to a tough 28-13 win over visiting Gate City in Death Valley.
“I’m proud of the fact that we ran the ball well and made the plays when we needed to,” said South coach Justin Hilton. “It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t conventional.
“Good grief, an ugly win is a whole lot better than a pretty loss,” added Hilton. “Our defense bailed us out tonight. They made some big stops.”
Gate City (0-3) thrilled its fans late in the first quarter when the Blue Devils drove 61 yards in three plays to score the game’s first touchdown. Quarterback Jon Sallee evaded three South defensive linemen and found Luke Reed alone in the flat. Reed gathered the ball in and followed a convoy of blockers 39 yards to pay dirt.
With 4:25 left in the opening quarter, Gate City led 7-0.
South responded by going on a 94-yard touchdown drive with Julian Reed tying the game on a 6-yard run. Reed added a 1-yard plunge with 5:24 to go in the half and the Rebels were on top for good at 14-7.
“Our offensive line did a phenomenal job tonight,” said Reed, who finished with 17 carries for 123 yards. “It’s always fun to play here in Death Valley and tonight was very special.”
Showing great patience, Pollack managed to pile up 199 yards rushing on 25 carries. He scored on touchdown runs of 18 and 6 yards. He also completed 4 of 10 passes for 80 yards.
Late in the third quarter, Gate City pulled within 21-13 after Sallee bulled his way 12 yards into the end zone. But that was as close as the Blue Devils would get.
“Our kids continue to play hard,” said Gate City coach Chris Akers. “We had our opportunities, but it just seemed that every time we had a chance to get some momentum, we’d sputter on offense.
“Just too many three and outs,” added Akers. “We have a lot of guys going both ways, and at times we just seem to run out of gas.
“Give South credit, they made the plays. And Pollack is a good football player. They rely on him and he makes the plays when they need him to.”
South travels to Sullivan Central next week while Gate City hosts Daniel Boone.