09/25/05 — Saints rush past Firebirds

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Saints rush past Firebirds

Published in Sports on September 25, 2005 2:14 AM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne's area-leading offense did nothing to lose its position Friday night. The Saints rushed for 360 yards and passed for 52 more, and survived a wild fourth quarter to defeat Southern Nash 38-26.

Southern Wayne's super sophomore running back Anthony Council ran for 151 yards and four touchdowns. Council eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark -- in just six games -- with a 55-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

While the Firebirds began the game keying on Council, the Saints' Derrick Lathan emerged another weapon with 57 yards on six totes in the opening quarter. Lathan concluded the night with 158 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Each team exchanged punts and fumbles early in the game. The Firebirds returned the Saints fumble 41 yards and covered 16 yards in three plays to score the game's first touchdown.

Lathan countered with a 3-yard run with just 22 seconds left in the first quarter. Preston Grantham kicked the extra point and Southern Wayne led 7-6.

After Council's long touchdown run in the second quarter, the Firebirds' Daryl Cotton scored on a 50-yard run less than a minute later and the half ended with Southern Wayne leading 13-12.

Lathan shook loose on a 56-yard touchdown run to begin the third quarter and the Saints increased their lead to 20-12.

A big momentum swing came with five minutes left in the third quarter.

Southern Wayne stopped the Firebirds on fourth down at the Saints' 10 yard line. Southern Wayne drove 90 yards in 13 plays to score and grabbed a two-touchdown lead with less than 11 minutes to play.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Saints' Council. The star running back scored on runs of 20, 14 and 28 yards. On two of his touchdown runs, Council was trapped in his own backfield, reversed field and outran Firebird defenders to the goal line. Southern Nash running back Jermel Ward emerged as leading rusher in the game with 191 yards and three touchdowns, including a 65-yard run late in the fourth quarter

"We had some good things happen and then we had some things happen that weren't planned that were good," said Saints coach Bob Warren. "I attribute that to people not giving up and trying to make a play. I thought offensively we ran the ball very well, we took what they gave us, we knew they would key on Council because he is a very good runner. When Anthony got a chance to make some big plays you saw what he could do. He is just outstanding."

Southern Wayne (4-2) used running back Lathan on the buck-sweep off-tackle play.

"We have been extremely successful running that play in the last two or three weeks," said Warren. "It is one of our primary plays and we are blocking it better."