It was a decidedly different mood Thursday night on the Stone High football team’s sideline.
Players were laughing, joking and encouraging one another as the team romped over the Sumrall Bobcats.
One week after having been shut out, 20-0, by the Wildcats of Greene County, the Tomcats turned the same trick on the Bobcats, taking a 42-0 victory and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
“We executed in areas we haven’t been executing in,” said coach John Feaster. “Take away the three penalties in the first half and they played an almost perfect half.”
In fact, Stone would score touchdowns on its first four possessions.
After holding Sumrall to a 3-and-out to start the game, Stone needed just six plays to get on the board.
Carlos Brown broke a run around the right side on second-and-10 and went 68 yards for the touchdown.
Clint Ryals kicked the first of his six PATs and the rout was on.
The Tomcats forced a Bobcats fumble on Sumrall’s next possession and used just seven plays to go 75 yards with Brown scoring again, this time from the 3-yard line.
Stone then held the Bobcats to another 3-and-out and went 69 yards in eight plays with quarterback Triston Hickman scoring from one yard out on a keeper.
Stone forced another 3-and-out with linebacker Dalton Lee shutting down an attempted reverse on third-and-10.
The Tomcats needed seven plays to go 66 yards and Hickman once again scored on a keeper, this time from the 3-yard line.
Sumrall had 1:25 left in the half when they got the ball back and tried to force things with long passes downfield. Jade Woodward made the Bobcats pay when he intercepted a pass and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown with zeroes on the clock.
Stone took a 35-0 lead to the locker room.
“That was probably the best half of football we’ve played all season,” Feaster said.
Stone would take the second-half kickoff and go 54 yards in seven plays with Brown scoring on fourth-and-goal. Ryals’ kick finished the scoring.
Brown would end the night with 164 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries while Hickman completed 13-of-17 passes for 209 yards.
Kaleb Gilner was on the receiving end of five of those passes and gained 113 yards while Caleb Armstrong caught five passes for another 73 yards.
Feaster said the coaching staff had simplified the offense leading up to the Sumrall game.
“It was already simple, we just made it simpler,” he said.
Lee, Josten James, Adison Moran and Derek Spiers each had five tackles to lead the defense.