It’s taken eight-plus games, four of which were losses, but Darius Robinson is finally seeing the Southern Durham team he always foresaw.
While his team struggled to play as a group consistently during the first half of the season, Robinson believes the Spartans are now “clicking.” That much was evident on Thursday when they defeated Chapel Hill 58-0 to win consecutive games for the first time in 2016.
Executing well in all three phases of the game, Southern Durham (4-4 overall, 2-1 Big 8 3A) used its athleticism and big-play ability to show why it could be still be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time, despite its unexpected struggles earlier in the year.
The Spartans, who jumped out to a 13-point lead within the opening five minutes, were powered on offense by wide receiver/running back Taron Beauford’s three-touchdown performance and quarterback Jalen Greene’s excellent outing, but also scored 21 points on defense and special teams.
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“This is the team I envisioned we were going to be when the season ended last year,” Robinson said. “This is what we’ve been building for. We’ve been through a lot of adversity, and this is what the outcome of it is. We’ve never quit. We had to understand that the things that we went through were for a reason, and now we’re clicking.”
Already leading by two scores after the first 12 minutes, the Spartans completely put the game away when they scored 35 points between the second and third quarters.
Trailing 13-0 early in the first quarter, Chapel Hill (2-6, 0-3) had a chance to get back in the game when it faced a fourth-and-2 at Southern Durham’s 20-yard line, but the Tigers failed to convert on a run by senior running back Kareem Patillo, and never came that close to scoring again.
THREE TO KNOW
Taron Beauford, Southern Durham: Beauford is a Swiss-army knife of sorts for the Spartans, and he proved why against Chapel Hill as he caught touchdown passes of eight and 78 yards, and also returned a punt 48 yards for a score.
“I see great things for him. He’s only a sophomore, and the future is bright for him,” Robinson said.
Jalen Greene, Southern Durham: Always looking for the big play, Greene completed nine of 12 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns.
Ryan McLamb, Southern Durham: McLamb was the loudest Spartan on the field when his team was warming up, and he proceeded to deliver a stellar performance, recording a 36-yard touchdown catch and a 64-yard interception return for a score.
BY THE NUMBERS
2.8: Yards per play by Chapel Hill.
4: Turnovers forced by the Southern Durham defense.
63: Rushing yards for Southern Durham running back Joey Strong Jr., who scored a touchdown and led the Spartans with seven yards per carry.
31.6: Yards per completion by Greene.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s going to be a tough year for us. So, I think as we go through the season I think we’re going to be more seasoned as the years come. So, this is our down year.” – Chapel Hill coach Issac Marsh.