Charlie Davidson’s debut as Blackman’s starting running back was a memorable one.
Davidson rushed for 148 yards with two touchdowns and the fifth-ranked Blaze cruised past rival Smyrna 42-0 Friday night at The Inferno in the opening round of the TSSAA Class 6A football playoffs.
“I just wanted to run hard, break tackles and just do it for my team,” said Davidson, a junior. “Cole is still a little banged up, so I just did it for my team.”
Cole Notgrass, who started at tailback during the regular season, played primarily in the secondary in place of Chase Murphy, who had to sit out because of an ejection the week prior. Notgrass was also nursing a rib injury.
Blackman (9-2) will play at seventh-ranked Ravenwood (10-1) next Friday in the second round. Ravenwood, which is the No. 2 seed in quadrant 2, defeated Cane Ridge 49-26 in its first round game. Blackman is the third seed.
The win snapped a Blackman two-game losing streak. Smyrna finished the season 6-5, losing its final two games.
Davidson had his yards by halftime. His second score — a 2-yard TD run — made it 28-0 at halftime. Blackman scored all 28 of its first half points in the second quarter, including 21 points in the final 2:14 before the break.
Jauan Jennings’ 1-yard run with 2:14 left in the half made it 14-0. After the Blaze forced Smyrna to punt, junior Ronnie Killings took the reverse pitch from teammate Styles Corder to break an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Teammate Tamrik Massengile recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. And Davidson capped a 25-yard drive with his final TD of the night.
“We take a lot of pride in our special teams,” Blackman coach Philip Shadowens said. “We’ve scored a bunch this year through special teams. We’ve got two dynamic kids back there in Styles (Corder) and Ronnie.
“We’ve been able to change some games through special teams. I don’t know if it changed it (Friday), but it helped us put it away.”
Jennings tossed a 77-yard pass to Quen Hardy to make it 35-0 in the third quarter. Backup Jamie Kent ended the scoring with a 47-yard TD run. Blackman finished with 407 total yards.
Blackman’s defense held Smyrna to just 99 yards. The Bulldogs used multiple quarterbacks during the game. They started Jackson Holland, a backup during the regular season. He completed 3 of 9 passes for 50 yards. Matt Rodell, who started during the regular season, was 0 of 2 passing with an interception.
“We knew what we could do,” said Jennings, who played both at quarterback and at safety. “We just had to go out and execute. Our team played up to our ability. We still have high hopes here.”
Blackman limited LaDarius Summers, who entered the game averaging a District 7-AAA leading 118.8 yards a game, to 29 yards on 15 carries.
Blackman’s shutout came three weeks after the Blaze defeated Smyrna 28-13 in the regular season.
“They are a real scrappy bunch,” Blackman linebacker Antonio Allen said. “We came out and underestimated them last time. We came out real cocky. We came out and played the way we were supposed to play the first game.”