CLARKSVILLE — It took awhile for Smyrna to get going after fumbling the ball away on its first possession.
But the lack of a consistent Northeast offense never put the Bulldogs in any real danger as Smyrna cruised to a 44-0 victory Friday night at Northeast High School.
The Bulldogs (4-0) had only faint success running the ball against the Eagles so head coach Matt Williams turned his 6-foot-2 sophomore quarterback loose and John Turner responded. Turner threw for 212 yards on 12-of-20 passing, including two touchdown passes.
Teammate Percy Whittaker was one of Northeast’s biggest headaches. He caught both Turner scoring tosses. And D.J. Williams returned a kickoff 88 yards for another touchdown to open the second half, burying any thoughts Northeast may have had at staging a comeback.
“That was just a great play from a great athlete,” Matt Williams said. “It gave us some momentum to start the third quarter and we took off from there.”
Whittaker caught touchdown passes of 11 and 58 yards, the latter of which stunned the Eagles’ crowd after Whittaker hauled down the pass with a Northeast defender draped all over him.
Smyrna finished with 317 yards of total offense but only had 105 on the ground. It was the only bright spot for a Northeast team that was shut out for the second time this season.
“I thought we played hard,” Eagles coach Terry Arrington said. “I thought we played for all four quarters out there. But we don’t have a big play guy. We’re still searching for someone who can bust a 50- or 60-yarder.”
Smyrna’s offense wasn’t without its own problems. The Bulldogs fumbled the ball away on its first possession and missed two of three field goals Friday night. Adrian Baeze did connect on a 32-yarder that pushed the lead to 17-0, but his third field goal attempt with 3:21 before halftime sailed wide left.
The teams went into halftime with the Bulldogs holding a 24-0 advantage and Arrington felt good about his team’s chances in the second half. But Whittaker ended that streaking down the left sideline for 88 yards and a 31-0 lead to start the third quarter.
Smyrna got a 3-yard touchdown run from Kyle Smith with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and a final touchdown run from Jontarious Turner as time expired for the final total.
“I was proud of our passing game with John (Turner) and that whole group because they set the tone early,” Matt Williams said. “Our quarterback showed poise out there and when Northeast took our run away, we turned to that passing game and they came through.”