Playing on essentially half of the brand-new synthetic turf for most of the night, Putnam County High’s football club put a natural whooping on the Jasper County Hurricanes Friday on that freshly carpeted Al Reaves Field. Scoring like it was arena football, multiple War Eagles reached the endzone in the 69-0 rout that put the 2021 season at a 2-0 start.
Only two times during the first half were plays from scrimmage snapped on Putnam County’s side of the 50-yard-line. And those plays were split between the two neighbors. The War Eagle defense held Jasper County to 57 yards in the first half. The two first downs for the Hurricanes only came after Putnam had built a 48-0 lead.
Shaun Pope’s group, in two games now, have shown a propensity for the one-play touchdown drive, not to mention a special teams unit that creates field positions coaches dream about. Two times the War Eagle offense scored from one official snap, and a third series only took two snaps to put points on the scoreboard.
Putnam’s defense also accounted for a pick-six touchdown. All of these scores took place in the first half, which ended 48-0. The War Eagles scored three more times with a second-half running clock, and these came from short drives.
But it all started with special teams and Tino Reyes’ kickoff. Two guys who get a lot of press for catching footballs were key on tackles opening Friday’s game. Malik Thornton brought the kickoff return man down on Jasper’s 14, and Jalon Kilgore stopped an outside reception on the 8.
DJ Bland returned the Hurricane punt to the 2, and Cedrion Brundage walked over the goal line for his first of two touchdowns at 9:32. The PAT try hit a goalpost, but Reyes and Bryan Canalas would make every remaining attempt.
Getting the football back on the Jasper 45, senior quarterback Gerald Kilgore threw his first touchdown pass of 2021. Zemarion Little gave him a block, and the left-hander fired a 28-yard laser to Thornton on 3rd-and-10 for 13-0 at 6:55.
Jasper County had other turnovers, including losing a fumble to Chase Lupton on the 23. From the 18, G. Kilgore went up top to brother Jalon, and it was two TD passes in 20 game seconds and 20-0 War Eagles.
Still in the opening quarter, Putnam drove 32 yards in six plays to lead 27-0. Brundage took a direct snap on 4th-and-1 at the 9 and notched his second touchdown.
Putnam’s defense did more damage on the ensuing drive. Unique Reid’s sack on the quarterback took away nine yards and Tamarion Peters batted down a third-and-long pass. Reid brought the Hurricane quarterback down a second time to start the second period, and on 3rd-and-19 freshman Rashod Daniel scored on a 10-yard interception return (34-0).
From Jasper’s second lost fumble, spotted on the 14, Peters covered those yards on two carries. His first of two scores, a two-yarder, came at 9:23 (41-0).
Little became the sixth to score in the longest scoring drive of the half, 49 yards. But he did it in two totes, taking the ball in from 10 out at 6:35 (48-0).
On the first time the football was spotted on the Putnam side of the 50, it was because Zac Mitchell intercepted Jasper on the 49.
G. Kilgore and Thornton connected for a second time in a 60-yard touchdown drive starting the third quarter. It took eight plays, and the 18-yard touchdown came on 3rd-and-7.
Peters scored a three-yard touchdown at the end of the third, and in the fourth Daniel carried three times for 30 yards and his second touchdown, a 12-yarder.
Putnam will show off its new field one more time and look for a 3-0 start this coming Friday against Social Circle High.