RANDLEMAN — Although sixth-seeded Randleman High School was dominant in its first-round state 2-A playoff game with 27th-seeded West Stanly last week, it took until after halftime before the Tigers could gain breathing room.
But once they did, they were able to breathe freely.
The Tigers broke away from a fairly slim 13-point lead by scoring four second-half touchdowns en route to a 43-0 victory, earning a home game in the second round this Friday against 11th-seeded Forest Hill.
While the RHS defense was dominant the entire game — holding West Stanly to a combined 102 yards of offense — the Tigers erupted from a 13-0 halftime lead with their big second-half offensive output.
“I feel we came out with a little bit of a lull up front,” RHS coach Brian Hughes said. “The offensive line played a lot better in the second half. I thought we had a little bit of a hangover from the Eastern Randolph game.”
RHS dropped a hard-fought 22-21 decision to the Wildcats the week before, their first loss of their now 10-1 season.
Against the Colts, RHS scored five times in six possessions after intermission to win going away, getting a 1-yard scoring burst from Edison Hernandez, a 37-yard field goal by Christian McLeod, a 7-yard scoring run from Hernandez, a 24-yard pass from John Kirkpatrick to Tyshaun Goldston and a 45-yard scoring run from Daylan Atkins.
The TIgers accumulated 458 yards of offense, including 232 on the ground and 226 through the air. Kirkpatrick was 14-for-22 for 226 yards and two scores.
Hernandez finished with 134 yards on the ground and Goldston had four receptions for 156 yards and he had two interceptions.
RHS’ first two scores came on a 75-yard TD strike from Kirkpatrick to Goldston late in the first quarter and a 4-yard TD run by Lane Swaim with just eight seconds left before halftime.
“You know it’s always big when you go into halftime with momentum,” Hughes said. “I felt we weren’t going too good, but getting that last-second score gives the kid confidence.”
That offensive confidence certainly showed in the second half.