After starting 2-0 and being ranked as high as No. 2 in Class AA, Sissonville fell on hard times, dropping four of its next five contests.With three games left and the door to the playoffs slowly closing, the Indians emphatically stepped their foot in that closing door Friday night.Trent Stowers rushed for 144 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns as Sissonville kept its playoff hopes alive with a 72-12 romp over Sherman at Joe Sawyer Field."This win was huge," Stowers said. "It let us know that the hope [of making the playoffs] was still there. We have two more games left. Hopefully we can win those games and make the playoffs."
Stowers showed he meant business by ripping off a 58-yard touchdown run on Sissonville's third play from scrimmage, and he added another touchdown in the second quarter on a 5-yard scamper."That is by far my best start this year," Stowers said. "It's hard to tell what I could have finished with if I were able to stay in the game, but I'm proud of my performance and also that we were able to come out with a win."With Sissonville leading 41-0 at the half, Stowers was relegated to bench duty as he watched the reserves finish the game.Quarterback Austin Crawford contributed with 57 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Indians (4-4). Crawford connected with Nathan Miller for both touchdowns on passes of 10 yards each.
"We just have a great connection," Miller said. "We always throw together in practice, so our chemistry is good. He just puts the ball there and I make the plays."We had to get back on a winning track. It was important that we got to .500 tonight if we wanted to make the playoffs."Crawford agreed."[Sherman is] a decent team but I think the difference was we came in ready to play," Crawford added. "I'm just glad we were able to get back on the winning track. We want to make the playoffs, so we are going to have to finish strong."
The Indians most likely need to win out in order to obtain their first Class AA playoff berth since 2007. They close out the regular season against Poca and Braxton County.Working in the Indians' favor is the fact that there were only 18 teams with winning records in AA entering this weekend. The top 16 in each class qualify for the postseason.Indians coach Eddie Smolder was cautious about looking ahead to the playoffs, but admitted a playoff appearance would be great for his players.
"We are just taking one day at a time," Smolder said. "We are trying to get better every day and focus on the next day. We are going to enjoy this win, rest up and go back to work on Monday."Making the payoffs would be a huge accomplishment. We have goals set. We are going to work our best to accomplish them by working hard as a team and growing each day."The game was never in question for the Indians as they scored on six of their first seven possessions, while Sherman (1-7) managed to cross the 50-yard line once out of its seven possessions, and that resulted in an interception by Michael Hicks.At the half, the Indians accumulated 351 yards of total offense compared to 19 from the Tide.Jared Wilkinson added a 7-yard touchdown run and Dominic Walker added an 11-yarder in the first half along with the touchdown runs from Stowers and two TD passes from Crawford to Miller.The Tide managed to finally put points on the board in the third quarter when Justin Clark broke free for a 58-yard touchdown run.
The Indians added scores on a Walker 27-yard run, Wilkinson's 8-yard run, Dylan Moore's 75-yard kick return, Hicks' 82-yard kick return and a Josh Landis 1-yard run.Clark led the Tide with 194 yards rushing on 26 carries and two touchdowns.