It took Byrnes a while to get going Friday night.
But when the Rebels – No. 1 in The Greenville News Upstate rankings and No. 4 in the USA TODAY Super 25 national poll – did get going, there was little Boiling Springs could do to stop it.
Leading by only seven at halftime, Byrnes broke things open in the second half. The Rebels scored three touchdowns and shut down the Bulldogs’ offense en route to a 35-7 victory in the Region 2-AAAA opener for both teams at Nixon Field.
Byrnes coach Chris Miller said the key was turning up the pressure on Boiling Springs quarterback Daniel Thompson.
“Thompson was doing a good job throwing the ball,” Miller said. “We had to do something to get him out of his comfort zone.”
The move worked. Boiling Springs was held to 18 yards total offense in the third quarter.
That was all Byrnes quarterback Shuler Bentley and company needed.
Bentley passed for five touchdowns and more than 400 yards, more than 100 of which went to Evan Sudduth.
“It is fun playing with a quarterback who knows this system so well,” Sudduth said. “He has a pretty good idea where to go with the ball every snap, and even when stuff breaks down he does a good job scrambling around and finding the open man.”
The Bulldogs (3-2, 0-1) went toe-to-toe with the Rebels (5-0, 1-0) during the first half but made a few mistakes in the third quarter that haunted them.
“They brought more pressure (defensively) than in the three tapes we had,” said Boiling Springs coach Bruce Clark. “That’s what they do. That’s why they’re state champs. They make great adjustments at halftime, and we have to get better at it.”