POOLESVILLE, Md. —K.J. White collected the second-most yards for the South Hagerstown football team on Friday.
He was second to tailback Isiaha Smith, who had 223 yards and five rushing touchdowns in a 43-0 shutout of Poolesville.
White had 145 yards, but you’d never know it. It doesn’t show up in the statistics.
Yet, his contribution was almost as important as Smith’s.
White picked off two critical interceptions in the first half and had long returns on both to give Smith and the Rebels the short field for easy scores in a game which was won by the offense but dominated by South’s defense.
The cameo appearance was more than gratifying to White.
“This feels pretty good,” said White. “I helped the team win. That’s all I can ask for — to be an asset to the team.”
He was more than an asset. White helped South’s defense set the tone for a game that could very easily have served as a trap for the Rebels, especially after last Friday’s benchmark 21-14 victory over Thomas Johnson.
Instead, the Rebels came out physical and strong, forcing four turnovers that led to three touchdowns and collecting a safety along the way.
The Rebels are 5-0 for the first time since the 1962 squad became the only undefeated team in South football history.
“Our team is led by our defense,” South coach Toby Peer said. “The first thing we ask our offense to be is opportunistic and take advantage of what the defense and special teams gives them. They set us up in good position and then (the offense) has to run the ball and score.”
It definitely went to plan, as South feasted on short-field opportunities.
The first came after White’s first interception, as he picked off Poolesville quarterback Kirby Caramck at South’s 22-yard-line and returned it 67 yards to the Poolesville 11. It took three carries for Smith to go the needed yardage to put South up 7-0 with 6:48 to go in the first quarter.
It was only the start for Smith, who scored on runs of 2, 1, 9, 1 and 60 yards to make sure the offense got the big finishes Peer was expecting. Smith took over as the game wore on, going for 154 yards on nine carries in the second half.
South took a 9-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter when a Poolesville shotgun snap landed in the end zone and forced Caramck to scramble and fall on it for a safety.
Smith got touchdown No. 2 after the free kick on his first 1-yard plunge for a 16-0 lead
White made his second contribution to end Poolesville’s best drive of the game, picking off a pass at South’s 1 and returning it 78 yards.
“I was back there trying to figure out where they were going,” White said. “I just tried to stay in my zone. I was trying to get the ball to the end zone, but my legs gave out. We were trying to stay strong on defense and keep the intensity up.”
Two runs by quarterback Brandon Jackson set up Smith’s 9-yard score for a 22-0 halftime lead.