Reynolds football coach Shane Laws wondered what kind of night it was going to be when South Caldwell scored an 80-yard touchdown on Friday’s first play from scrimmage.
Things only got better from there. A lot better.
Jave Jones ran for 148 yards and four touchdowns as the Rockets easily won their home opener, 50-7, at Dalton Stadium.
Levi Ledford passed for 201 yards and ran for a touchdown, while Rico Dowdle and A.J. Logan also got into the act with rushing touchdowns in the second half.
South Caldwell (2-1) had won 23 consecutive regular-season games prior to Friday, but could never get any momentum on offense without former 3,000-yard rusher Zac Pollard. Pollard tore an anterior cruciate ligament last month and is out for the season.
“It’s a big win,” Jones said.
“We were excited to be at home. The line blocked great all night and Levi did a good job back there making plays all night.”
The Rockets (3-1) fell behind 7-0 in the game’s first minute, but took a 28-7 lead to halftime.
Ledford, a three-year starter at quarterback who came into Friday with 3,515 career passing yards, scrambled for the first touchdown from 31 yards out with 9:51 to go in the first quarter. Jones then scored on three subsequent drives and with a longer run each time (2, 18 and 62 yards).
Jones’ final touchdown came at the 10:39 mark of the third quarter on a 21-yard run. Dowdle reached the end zone on a 2-yard run about five minutes later.
Finally, with many of Reynolds starters on the sideline, Logan rumbled for a 26-yard touchdown with 11:05 remaining.
C.J. Allen was the top receiver for the Rockets with four catches for 60 yards.
The Spartans got their only score on a long run by Gavin Reed.
Reynolds’ defense got a lot more rigid after Reed scored on his first touch. Khiry Lytle, Keishaun Tomes and leading tackler Andrew Swicegood (11.3 per game) recovered fumbles.
Thomas Blakey hit all six of his extra-point attempts, while Ledford scored on a 2-point conversion run after Dowdle’s touchdown.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted to tonight,” Laws said.
“We really made some silly mistakes in the first half and gave them some first downs that we shouldn’t have. But we were a much better football team in the second half. Overall, we’re still a work in progress, but I’m proud of the kids. Right now, it’s just about putting them in tough situations and getting better.”
The Rockets are back at home next week for arguably their hardest game of the regular-season. South Point was 3-0 coming into Friday and third in this week’s Associated Press 3-A poll.