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Defense takes charge as Pointers top Vinton County

McARTHUR - The South Point Pointers defense took over the steering wheel and left the offense in the backseat.

While most of the preseason hype has been on the Pointers offense, it took a backseat to the defense Friday night in a season-opening 21-6 win over the Vinton County Vikings.

Led by linebacker Justin Thacker, defensive backs Jacob Orlando, Anthony Ross and Jude Crabtree, the Pointers shut down the Vikings offense and made key play after key play.

Ross had an interception and Rusty Gillespie a fumble recovery. Besides his defense, Orlando averaged 25 yards on four punt returns.

"The defense played great," Pointers coach Dan McDavid said. "Statistically it was pretty even, but we shut them down when we had to."

Defensive linemen Jeremiah Taylor and Clinton Pack, a freshman, also turned in strong performances.

"They put some pressure on the quarterback and made some plays for us," McDavid said.

Vinton County got on the scoreboard first when Matt Yates hit Ben Batey with a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 6-0.

South Point had a drive stall due to an offensive pass interference call, but bounced back on its next possession on a swing pass to Orlando who scampered to the 3-yard line.

Quarterback Chris Smith kept the ball to start the second quarter and dove across the goal line to tie the game. Rocky Roe kicked the point after and South Point led 7-6.

A 41-yard Smith pass to Jerrell Dean got the Pointers in scoring position again, but Zach Ray came up with an interception to halt the drive.

'We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We blew a lot of scoring chances," McDavid said.

With time running out in the half, Vinton County was forced to punt. A bad snap allowed Crabtree to scoop up the loose football and return it 40 yards for a touchdown. Roe's conversion kick upped the lead to 14-6 just before the break.

Neither team could get any rhythm in the third quarter as several injuries slowed the game's pace.

South Point lost offensive tackle Josh Hunt with a broken leg and tight end Jeremiah Taylor also left with a leg injury.

Yates, the Vinton County backup quarterback, broke his collarbone and gave way to third string signal caller Justin Conley. Starter Jay Simmons missed the game with a sprained MCL.

The Pointers finally managed to tack on an insurance score with less than five minutes to play.

Smith broke several tackles and scrambled free to hook up with a wide-open Roe on a 24-yard scoring strike. Roe's conversion kick completed the scoring.The only down note for the Pointers was offensive tackle Josh Hunt who suffered a broken leg and will probably be lost for the season.