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Southwood smashes Maconaquah to win TRC South Division

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

LA FONTAINE – Southwood’s fate was not in it’s own hands on Friday night. While a win would be necessary to keep the possibility of playing for a Three Rivers Conference title alive, other needed outcomes left the Knights in limbo.

It also, however, kept the Knights focused heading into their regular season home finale.

Putting forth one of it’s most dominant performances of the season, Southwood throttled Maconaquah, 45-7. Paired with Peru’s upset on the road against North Miami and the Knights earned a spot in Friday’s Three Rivers Conference title game against Northfield.

 “It feels great,” Southwood quarterback Carson Blair said. “We came out and worked hard all week. We knew we had to win this week to have a chance for a championship next week. We just had to come out and take care of business and I’m glad we did.”

Blair was as sharp as he had been all season, throwing for 367 yards and five touchdowns in the first half, connecting with Peyton Trexler six times for 267 yards and four scores in the opening 24 minutes.

The record-setting duo continue to rewrite the history books on the night. Blair surpasses 100 career touchdowns, furthering a record he already owned, while also tying his own record of six touchdown passes in a game.

Trexler, meanwhile, broke teammate Matt Nose’s single-game receiving yardage record, tallying a total of 287 yards on seven catches with five touchdowns.

 “It’s huge,” Snyder said of sending his seniors off with a win on Senior Night. “We don’t have very many of them. When you’re a small high school, attrition takes care of a lot of that. But they were fired up. I couldn’t get a read on us last night in practice. I couldn’t really tell how motivated we were.

“But I really got a good read on us before the game when we came on the field. There was a sense of urgency, which we sometimes lack from time to time. I was pleased as heck with the way the kids played.”

That sense of urgency was evident from the opening kick-off on the night. While the Knights allowed a rare Brave first down in the opening drive, they would eventually force a punt that Trexler would return back across midfield.

The hosts needed just three plays to take the lead as Blair would connect with Trexler on a slant route that the latter would take to the house from 41 yards out.

After a three-and-out from Maconaquah, Southwood embarked on its longest drive of the night, going 85 yards in eight plays. Trexler capped off the drive by catching a pass in the flats before breaking three tackles down the sideline and scoring from 26 yards out.

The opening two drives for Snyder offered a breath of relief moving forward in the game.

“The first two touchdowns we got kind of set the tone because, the second one was just a series of missed tackles and I think it got pretty obvious real quick that Trexler was going to be the fastest kid on the field,” Snyder said. “We didn’t necessarily just target him, either. Carson’s equal opportunity, he’ll throw it to anybody. But Peyton made some plays offensively.

“Defensively, we didn’t allow maybe three or four first downs in the first half. I thought that was huge because we talk about trying to be a complete football team. I tell the kids ‘We have a pretty good chance of scoring against about anybody we play. But can we stop those guys?’ We got into a little bit of a track meet at Peru last wee and I don’t like playing that way.”

Southwood forced another punt on defense and Blair would need just one play to get his 100th touchdown, connecting with Trexler for an 80-yard score.

Southwood would recover the ensuing onside kick and before eventually being forced to settle for a field goal to move ahead 24-0.

Maconaquah would pick up a first down in its next drive before punting once more. Southwood, again, struck pay dirt in big fashion as Blair and Trexler combined for an 83-yard score.

The Braves would cross midfield for the first time on the night in its final drive of the half, but would turn the ball over on downs. After a 22-yard pass from Blair to Trexler, Matt Nose would haul in a 30-yard score with 34 seconds left to give Southwood a 37-0 lead.

“We’ve been pretty upbeat,” Blair said of the team’s morale during practice. “We knew it didn’t really lie in our hands what would happen. We knew we couldn’t control what was going to happen at Peru-North Miami, so we knew we had to take care business first with us.”

Blair and Trexler put the finishing touches on the night in the opening drive of the second half as the former found the latter on a go-route for the fifth touchdown between the two, giving Southwood a 44-0 lead.

“It’s been really fun,” Blair said of playing with Trexler this season. “I’ve been playing with him since fourth grade and…it’s always fun to play together. It’s nice having him out there.”

The Knights would fumble away the ball in its next drive in the third quarter but would force a turnover on downs. A holding penalty at the edge of the red zone on Southwood’s final drive of the third quarter would prevent Blair from breaking his own single-game passing touchdown record.

The Braves would add a consolation touchdown late in the fourth quarter as Paxton Kintner rumbled 92 yards for a score.

Blair finished 15-of-22 for 407 yards and six touchdowns while rushing five times for 29 yards. After Trexler’s 7-reception, 287-yard, 5-touchdown performance, Nose added four catches for 65 yards and a score while Nathan Riggle had two catches for 47 yards.

Gabe Lloyd ran nine times for 54 yards while Connor Rich ran seven times for 34 yards.

Maconaquah was held to just 48 yards in the first half. Collin Silvers finished with 15 carries for 40 yards while Braiden Walton had six carries for 21 yards. 

Southwood will meet Northfield in the TRC title game next week at Northfield while Maconaquah will travel to Manchester in its playoff game.