ROWLAND — West Bladen traveled to South Robeson for their season-opener, and pasted the Mustangs 42-8 in a game that featured 382 yards rushing from the Knights, a swarming disruptive defense by West Bladen and a running clock that did little to soothe the sting for the Mustangs.
The Knights’ defense recovered three South Robeson fumbles and blocked a punt to establish control, while the West Bladen stable to running backs put together a memorable evening.
After Hunter Pait recovered a Mustangs fumble at their 39, West Bladen marched to pay dirt in five plays capped by a 5-yard TD run by Malique McDowell. Colby McLean added the point after for a quick 7-0 lead.
Folling a short punt by the Mustangs, West Bladen ran nine plays and found the endzone again, this time on a 23-yard run by Keasean Sutton. McLean’s kick put West Bladen up 14-0.
Darrell Powell fell on a South Robeson fumble at the Mustangs’ 40, and the Knights drove to pay dirt in six plays, the last one a 1-yard run by quarterback Colby Lewis. McLean booted the extra point for a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
After holding South Robeson to a three and pout, Jaquan Ross blocked the ensuing punt that set the Knights up at the Mustangs’ 12. On the first play, Malcolm Vaught swept into the endzone for a touchdown, and McLean’s kick gave West Bladen a 28-0 edge.
South Robeson got something going on its next possession, driving to the Knights’ 5, but a fumble recovered by Ross gave West Bladen the ball and eventually led to another score. The Knights drove the 95 yards in just four plays — highlighted by a 31-yard run by McDowell and a 20-yard scamper by Lennon — culminated by a 34-yard touchdown run by Vaught. McLean’s kick gave West Bladen a 35-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
After holding the Mustangs and forcing a punt, West Bladen used six plays to drive 62 yards and scored when Lewis hooked up with Stefan McDonald on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Mclean was good on the point after and gave the Knights a 42-0 lead at halftime.
With the clock running through the second half, West Bladen got most of its players in for some game experience, while the defense continued to stymie the Mustangs. But South Robeson avoided the shutout with a score early in the fourth quarter.
West Bladen outgained South Robeson on the ground by a 382-86 margin — led by McDowell, who had 139 yards on 14 carries. Vaught added 86 yards on six carries and Da’quan Lennon had 46 yards on three carries.
Through the air, Lewis was 2-for-4 for 13 yards and a touchdown.
The Knights play their home opener on Friday, hosting West Columbus.