MELBOURNE – Both South Fork and Melbourne got off to a slow start Friday night until the team from Stuart was able to take control of the game and win 28-10 with all of the scoring taking place in the second half.
Melbourne initiated the scoring early in the third with a 36-yard field goal by Ben Baldwin after a 41-yard drive put them within striking distance.
South Fork answered quickly with a 16-yard pass by Stone Labanowitz to Connor Kilinski for a touchdown.
Soon after, Melbourne’s Shannon Birks was able to find a hole in the South Fork D-line and slip through, scrambling for a 43-yard touchdown run.
Running back Cephus Leonard secured the lead for South Fork on an 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter after a 74-yard drive.
Leonard rushed 13 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Stone Labanowitz passed seven times for 92 yards and one touchdown. On defense, linebacker Camp Gobler picked off a Melbourne pass and recovered a fumble in the end zone for the final South Fork score.
For Melbourne, Shannon Birks carried the ball five times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
South Fork (4-3) will travel to Lakeland to play Kathleen (3-4) next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. In Brevard County, fans can find the action when Bayside (0-7) comes to Melbourne (1-5) at 7 p.m.
SOUTH FORK 28, MELBOURNE 10
South Fork 0 0 14 14 – 28
Melbourne 0 0 10 0 – 10
HOW THEY SCORED
M: Ben Baldwin 36 FG
SF: Connor Kilinski 16 pass from Stone Labanowitz (Zak Pratt kick)
M: Shannon Birks 43 run (Ben Baldwin kick)
SF: Cephus Leonard 8 run (Zak Pratt kick)
SF: Cephus Leonard 9 run (Zak Pratt kick)
SF: Camp Gobler recovered fumble in end zone (Zak Pratt kick)
At Melbourne High School, Melbourne
Top performers:South Fork: Cephus Leonard rushed 13 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Stone Labanowitz passed seven times for 92 yards and one touchdown; Melbourne: Shannon Birks carried the ball five times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Key play: Camp Gobler picked off a pass by Melbourne’s Nick Nescio in South Fork’s red zone. South Fork went on to score two more touchdowns without answer, securing the win.
Record:South Fork (4-3, 1-1 6-7A);Melbourne (1-5, 0-2 6-7A).
Next week: South Fork at Kathleen, 7:30 p.m.; Bayside at Melbourne, 7 p.m.
Full game report:http://on.flatoday.com/2dQRUad
Tyler Vazquez, FLORIDA TODAY