MDJ Sports Correspondent
MARIETTA- Rain, nor wind, nor Sprayberry's defense could stop the Kell ground game Friday night as the Longhorns rumbled for 436 yards on the ground to wallop the Yellow Jackets 48-28.
The win moved Kell to 7-2 on the season, but locked itself into a three-way tie for the subregion. However, Pope won the subregion by virtue of a tiebreaker. Sprayberry fell to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in Region 5AAAA North.
Three of the Longhorns' running backs - Jordan Chambers, A.J. Redwine and Chris Gaines - tallied at least 100 rushing yards on the night, with Redwine visited the end zone three times.
"We challenged them to have a great week," Kell coach Derek Cook said of his backfield. "We haven't had a performance like that in a while. It's very rewarding."
Despite a second-half rally by Sprayberry, Kell raced out to a 35-0 lead before the Yellow Jackets got on the board.
"They were the better team," Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. "They were more physical. I thought it was a coin flip heading into the game. Kell just wanted this game more. This is very disappointing."
The Longhorns opened with a 14-play drive that stalled on the Sprayberry 15 when Chambers came up half a foot short on a fourth-and 1.
After a Sprayberry punt, Kell moved into Yellow Jacket territory again, but again the drive stalled and a missed field goal left the scoreboard knotted at zero in the first quarter.
The Longhorns drew first blood in the second, banked by a 35-yard dash from Chambers, Kell kicker Tyler Prince booted a 30-yard kick to put his team up 3-0.
Disaster struck Sprayberry on not one, but on both of its possessions. First a kick return was muffed and recovered by Kell at the Sprayberry 7. Redwine scored from 4 yards out, but a Longhorn fake field goal failed, leaving it 9-0. Sprayberry quarterback Jacob Chesser was picked on the next possession, leading to a 49-yard touchdown run from Kell's Gaines. Another fake extra point failed, keeping the Longhorns up 15-0.
Sprayberry's next three possessions didn't advance past the 50, leaving Kell excellent field position to score on a four-play drive before the half, highlighted by a 50-yard run from Redwine. Quarterback Clay Dodson hit Hunter Marshall for a 4-yard score to make it 21-0 after another 2-point conversion failed.
The second half saw Kell running backs cut big gashes on the ground, as Gaines' 35-yard dash set up Redwine's 6-yard score to go up 28-0.
Big holes off the edge set up Gaines' 24-yard score to make it 35-0. Sprayberry tried to surge back with a 79-yard bomb from Chesser to Kegan Moore which got the Yellow Jackets on the board. Gaines answered with a 41-yard dash from him set up a 10-yard TD scamper from Redwine.
Chambers broke loose after another Sprayberry pick, racing 63 yards for the score. Down 48-7, Sprayberry went to the air. First, Chesser found Tye Richardson for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 48-14, then the Yellow Jackets recovered a Kell fumble and Chesser again hit Richardson for a 14-yard touchdown grab.
Sprayberry recovered the onsides kick and Chesser again found Richardson, this time for a 36-yard touchdown grab.
However, there was too much ground to make up and too late.
Kell recovered another onsides attempt and ran out the clock. Gaines finished with 164 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns, Chambers rolled up 169 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown and Redwine claimed 100 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.