- Alma High School
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Pointers 35, Airedales 0
Pointers 35, Airedales 0
By Kevin Taylor
ALMA – Two costly Alma penalties prolonged a touchdown drive on Van Buren's opening possession of the second half.
The Pointers made the Airedales pay.
Van Buren quarterback Gary Phillips accounted for 357 yards of total offense Friday to help the upstart Pointers to a 35-0 win over the Airedales.
Alma finished with just 102 yards of total offense, 87 of which came on the team's final drive.
Down 7-0 after a competitive first half, Alma was twice on the verge of getting off the field. But a pass interference penalty and an offsides penalty on fourth-and-four – with the Pointers punting – led to Phillips' 16-yard scamper and a 14-0 lead with 6:44 left in the third.
Van Buren scored twice more before the quarter was over.
"We had them stopped," Alma coach Rusty Bush said. "We're not anywhere near efficient enough to go backward. Those penalties will absolutely kill you."
"We came out with a lot clearer head in the second half and did a lot of the things I thought we should have done in the first half," Van Buren coach Crosby Tuck said. "I think they (Alma) probably felt like they right in this thing. I thought both teams really battled in the first half. For us, it just came down to our execution."
Van Buren took a 7-0 lead on Phillips' 53-yard quarterback keeper – on the Pointers' first offensive snap of the game.
But the Airedales, who were starting a first-year quarterback, as opposed to Phillips starting his 16th career game, kept it close with some tough defensive play. Senior Jacob Coursey and sophomore Reagan Birchfield played well defensively for the Airedales.
"The entire first half, except for that one play, the defense played pretty well," Bush said. "We hemmed him (Phillips) up a little bit. The first one (touchdown), he (Phillips) cut it back inside, and when Gary gets open space like that, it's tough to defend 53 yards."
"Our energy was really high, which is good, but sometimes in a rivalry game, you get a little higher than it needs to be," Tuck said. "We underthrew it a couple of times and we ran two wrong routes."
After Phillips' 16-yard touchdown put the Pointers up two scores, Van Buren hit the gas pedal. Jaiden Henry ran 22 yards for another score and he caught a 79-yard TD from Phillips for another.
Phillips ran for 113 yards to lead the Pointers. He also threw for 244 yards.
Henry caught seven passes for 153 yards.
"Mainly, it was just about calming down," Tuck said. "We know the type of football team we are; we know that we should be able to punch the ball in the end zone drive after drive."