Southland senior starting QB Jake Hood had a big night in Southland's romp against Brookwood on Friday.
AMERICUS -- Age is just a number.
Southland Academy had 11 freshman and sophomores start the season opener Friday night, and sophomore Jon Adkins jump-started the Raiders with a 79-yard kickoff return in a 52-29 thrashing of Brookwood.
Southland rushed for 370 yards, and its defense held Brookwood to 125 yards as the Raiders scored the most points in a game since it beat Sherwood Christian, 56-8, during the 2006 season.
"We didn't complete a pass, so when you don't do that, you better get about 400 yards rushing," Southland coach Tim Goodin said. "We controlled the ball pretty well, and we had a lot of one- and two-play drives at points in the game. It's nice to score points when you snap it."
Brookwood capitalized off a Raider fumble early for a 6-0 lead when Justin Johnson scored from five yards out. Then in less than five minutes, Southland built a 20-6 lead off the kickoff return and one- and two-play drives.
Lawton Williams scored on a 30-yard run and after the Raider defense forced a fumble, McClain Cummins scored on a 20-yard run.
After Andrew Alexander stripped the quarterback and recovered the fumble, Southland was driving again. The Raiders had a first-and-goal at the 10 when they attempted their lone pass of the game. Brookwood's Johnson picked it off and returned in 95 yards for a touchdown to bring the Warriors to within 20-14.
"We started out slow," Goodin said. "I guess some of that was jitters. The defense didn't start out slow, but the offense did. Things weren't going right. The radios weren't working. We were aggravated with that, and we pitched them on the ground. Threw an interception when we had people wide open, but I hope it was early season mistakes. But for the first game, I'm well pleased. I thought they had an advantage having played one game already, and I'm glad we were able to move the ball and run right at them."
Clay Oxford scored on a 16-yard run to make it 26-14, and he scored again on a 9-yard run with 5:20 remaining in the half for a 32-14 lead.
Brookwood squeezed a touchdown in as the half expired when quarterback Jake Piazza found Chris Alexander for a 14-yard touchdown. Alexander dove in for the score. The Warriors converted the two with a pass from Piazza to Brad Kinni and trailed 32-22 at the half.
Southland forced a three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half and marched 43 yards in nine plays with Oxford's third touchdown -- a 3-yard run -- extended the lead to 39-22. A Jake Hood 12-yard run with 8:38 left in the game made it 46-22.
Johnson recovered a Southland fumble and Brookwood responded with a 7-play, 48-yard drive as Tyler Quinet's 9-yard run finished the scoring for the Warriors.
With the second offense in, Adkins scored his second touchdown with a 61-yard quarterback keeper.
Oxford led the Raiders with 99 yards rushing on 12 attempts, and Williams added 80 on 12 totes. Adkins had 75 yards, and Hood finished with 43.
"The line blocked well, all the backs ran hard and Jake played good," Williams said. "It's big because we're replacing all the backfield, and it was good for everybody to come in and show we could do it."
"We didn't tackle" was all Brookwood coach Robert East could really say about the game. Then he added about his team: "I'm impressed with these guys' ability. We'll go back to work on Monday to make it better."
Quinet led Brookwood with 63 yards on 17 carries, and Johnson rushed for 49 yards.
"I thought the defense played well other than the last possession of the first half," said Goodin. "It was a good first game. The defense at most gave up two scores. We tackled well in the open field, and I thought we played the wide game well. They didn't run much straight at us, and we pretty much controlled the inside."
Southland freshman Cauldin Smith forced a fumble and sophomore Dustin Shattles recovered one.
Southland hosts Mount de Sales, and Brookwood hosts Sherwood next week.