Byrnes quarterback Shuler Bentley was disappointed with his performance in a 41-0 victory against Clinton at Nixon Field on Friday night.
“I didn’t think I played that well,” said Bentley, who passed for 370 yards with five touchdowns. “I guess that’s why I’ve got such great teammates. They pulled me through.”
Bentley’s high standards say a lot about Byrnes (4-0) – ranked No. 6 in the USA TODAY Super 25 national poll – which lived up to the standard of “big-play offense.”
Despite having the football for less than 4½ minutes of the first half, Byrnes led 28-0 and only a Clinton interception in the end zone kept it from being 35-0.
“I thought Clinton did a real good job (of controlling the football on the ground),” said Byrnes coach Chris Miller. “We tried to get the kids to understand that. It was a good test for us. It was a physical contest. It was good to see if we could stand up to that.
“We went up against a team that ran the spread last week and then this week we faced the exact opposite.”
When Byrnes had the football, it displayed a quick-strike offense. Bentley completed eight of 13 passes for 221 yards with four touchdowns in the first half.
Akia Booker accounted for two of those scores on receptions of 38 and 33 yards. Greg McHam and Sheedon Meadors picked up the other two on catches of 41 and 37 yards, respectively.
It is difficult to tell what the score might have been if Clinton (1-3) had not controlled things early with its running game.
After watching the Rebels open with a one-play, 38-yard touchdown drive, Clinton rode tailback Lavadrick Glenn as the Red Devils picked up 22 yards to the Byrnes 46 before being stopped.
The Clinton defense didn’t allow the Rebels a first down during their second and third possessions but was unable to capitalize.
“I think I let that second possession bother me too much,” Bentley said. “I know better than that. I’ll have to work on that in practice.”
Byrnes’ passing attack kicked in during the second quarter as it scored on its first three possessions. Clinton avoided another score with only seconds remaining in the half.
After Byrnes’ Alex Garrett recovered a Red Devils fumble at the Clinton 33, Bentley launched a pass intended for Tavin Richardson in the end zone. Glenn intercepted it with four second remaining to end the threat.
Booker led all receivers with seven catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.