VALDOSTA -- The Wildcats rolled again Friday night.
For the second straight week, No. 4 Valdosta jumped on its opponent early and often, all but putting the game away by halftime, then cruised to a lopsided victory.
Valdosta defeated Columbus Kendrick 41-12 Friday at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. The Wildcats took a 29-0 halftime lead en route to a 29-point victory. This after routing Shiloh 37-0 last week.
"It was a good win. We put some points up on the board," Valdosta head coach Rick Darlington said. "They didn't score until late. You hate to give up points, but that's going to happen sometimes when you're rotating guys in."
Valdosta running back Demetrius James scored touchdowns on all three of his carries, wide receiver Steve Dawson caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Michael Turner threw for 155 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
"It's my senior year. I know I have to step up," Dawson said. "I've been working hard, putting my best into it."
"He's been something, hasn't he?" Darlington asked.
Valdosta received the opening kickoff, and it took the 'Cats just two plays to get in the end zone. On the second play of the game, James took the handoff on a counter, and the right side of the line opened a hole perfectly for him. James dashed through the hole, and after he got through, there was no one in between him and a 47-yard touchdown. Trey Miley's extra point gave Valdosta a 7-0 lead.
With about five minutes left in the first quarter, Kendrick quarterback Allen McCoy tried to throw a screen pass against a zone blitz by Valdosta. But Valdosta defensive tackle Dedrick Miley dropped back into coverage, leaped in the air, made a fingertip interception at the Kendrick 30, and then took off for the goal line. He shed McCoy's attempted tackle at the 15, and ran into the end zone for the score, making it 14-0.
Valdosta's Curtis Weatherspoon ended Kendrick's next drive with an interception. On the next play, Turner found Brandon Wrice for 24 yards to the 15. Then on the next play, James took the handoff, again on a counter, and busted through. He shed a tackler, then crossed the goal line for the score. When Kendrick didn't line up right for the extra point, Turner took the snap and threw a two-point conversion pass to Miley, making it 22-0 Wildcats.
Valdosta took over on downs at midfield with less than two minutes to play in the half. On the first play, Turner fired over the middle, and found Dawson on the run, down to the 8, a 42-yard gain. On the next play, James took the handoff again on the counter out of the shotgun, and again ran it into the end zone for his third touchdown, making it 29-0 at the half.
On Valdosta's first possession of the second half, the Wildcats moved the ball to the Kendrick 25, thanks in part to a 22-yard catch by Dawson. Then on third-and-11, Turner tossed a swing pass to Dawson along the Valdosta sideline, and the senior receiver caught it and raced for the goal line. He faked out a defender, then jumped into the end zone for the touchdown, making it 35-0.
"That was a great play he made down there (on the touchdown)," Darlington said.
Kendrick finally got on the board at the end of the third quarter. With Valdosta rotating in many of its reserves, the Cherokees moved into Valdosta territory, then McCoy threw an 18-yard scoring pass to Willie Townsend, making it 35-6.
Backup quarterback Alfrie Johnson entered the game, and drove the Wildcats for their final score, his legs doing much of the damage. Johnson had runs of 10, 11 and 13 yards, and threw a 13-yard pass to Dawson, all for first downs. Then on second down from the 17, Marcus McNair took the handoff on the counter, and dashed into the end zone for the touchdown, making it 41-6.
Kendrick had the game's final score, as McCoy hit Townsend on a 9-yard fade in the end zone.
James led Valdosta with 70 yards and three touchdowns on three caries. Johnson added 47 yards on six carries.
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