A physical ground attack led by running backs Jordan Logan and Sam Vines led Sanderson past host Knightdale 35-0 in Friday night’s football season opener.
Logan recorded all 15 of his carries – for 79 yards and a touchdown – in the first half for the Spartans before Vines and a number of other rushers shared duties after the break. Quarterback Justin Dunn added 97 yards on 11-of-18 passing.
“The passing game allowed us to continue the run game – they were packing the box and allowed us to run some physical routes that took them out of the game,” said Sanderson coach Ben Kolstad. “We’re real versatile this year, more so than we’ve been the past couple years.”
Kolstad said it had been the Spartans’ goal all offseason to end their three-game losing streak against Knightdale, which won last season’s meeting in overtime.
The summer-long focus paid off as the Spartans controlled the contest from the outset and worked in a number of backups in the second half with a comfortable lead in hand.
An excited crowd for the first game of the season in Knightdale was silenced early by a bruising opening drive by Sanderson, running more than eight minutes off the clock and culminating in a one-yard touchdown plunge by fullback Alim McNeill.
THREE TO KNOW
Jordan Logan, Sanderson: One year after burning Knightdale for 160 yards, Logan saw a reduced workload in Friday’s rout but remained a dominant force between the tackles. Ten of Logan’s 15 carries went for at least five yards.
Sam Vines, Sanderson: Vines picked up right where Logan had left off in the second half and battered the Knightdale defense with physical runs up the middle. He finished with 62 yards on 12 carries.
D.J. Conner, Knightdale: The Knights’ first-year starting quarterback struggled to find space in any regard against a stingy defense, completing only four of 13 pass attempts for 32 yards and running six times for 14 yards. He still led the team in both regards.
BY THE NUMBERS
65: yards of total offense by Knightdale, which was held to 32 total plays by Sanderson’s clock-chewing style.
4: different Sanderson rushers who found the endzone, including Logan, Vines, McNeill and Jesse Williams (five carries, 32 yards).
1: catch for Sanderson receiver Trent Pennix before an illegal hit late in the first half sidelined him for the remainder of the game.
6: years since Knightdale was last shut out at home, a 22-0 loss to Garner in October, 2010.
THEY SAID IT
“This was goal No. 1, to beat Knightdale. … We preached that all summer, all offseason, and the kids just really took some pride in it,” Kolstad said.