It only took 14 seconds for Taronn Selby to make an opening statement on Thursday night.
St. Georges’ blazing junior halfback returned the opening kickoff 86 yards as the Hawks, ranked No. 2 in Division II, opened the season with a comprehensive, 56-22 victory over Laurel in a DFRC Kickoff Classic game at T. Robert Ruston Memorial Stadium.
Selby carried 12 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns and added a 36-yard scoring reception from quarterback Zach Wright. His twin brother, Keyjuan Selby, ripped off a 61-yard touchdown run and finished with four carries for 81 yards. And fullback Tymiere Griffin twisted and turned for 84 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
The Hawks (1-0) piled up 350 yards on the ground and 83 more through the air, behind an offensive line of Brian Mailley, Matt Bobon, Dalton Ashley, Tyler Odrick and Luke Hernandez, plus tight ends Jiare Hicks, Austyn Warren and Tommy Halloway.
“You give us a little bit of an opening with the two Selbys – they can go,” St. Georges coach J.D. Maull said. “… We got the edge. When you have two kids who can run like they run, we weren’t able to do that a few years ago.
“This group here can get out to the outside. When you have speed, speed kills. They make us look good.”
Taronn Selby looked good on the first play of the game, taking the kickoff in the middle of the field, cutting to his right and blowing past the Laurel defenders.
“We just had to get momentum going, and I knew my speed was going to help me out,” the returner said. “I was able to run it back. We had everything going our way after that.”
The Hawks forced Laurel (0-1) to punt, then embarked on a seven-play drive capped by Taronn Selby’s 4-yard run. St. Georges’ Dhameer Madison recovered a Laurel fumble two plays later, and Taronn Selby’s 21-yard burst set up Griffin’s 4-yard score for a 20-0 lead with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs got on the board with a 90-yard kickoff return by Chucky Auguste, who also rushed 14 times for 99 yards and a second score. But they were no match for the Hawks, as Keyjuan Selby broke loose for a 61-yard TD to make it 27-7 with 5:11 still remaining in the opening quarter. It was 41-14 at the half.
“They’re tough, hard-nosed, and they’re big,” Laurel coach Glenn Phillips said of St. Georges. “… We’ve just got to go back to work. That’s what I told my kids. It’s a business, and we had a bad day today. We’re going to come back and work tomorrow.”