The Yellow Jackets turned to their rushing attack in the regular season finale against Sumiton Christian.
The group didn’t disappoint. Corner rushed for 406 yards and two touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets picked up a 35-7 win over the Eagles Friday night.
Byrd did his part as well, tossing a pair of first-half touchdowns and the Jackets gained some momentum heading into the postseason with their fifth straight win over Sumiton Christian.
The game was far from perfect on both sides of the ball. The teams combined for 10 turnovers (five each) and 15 penalties in the contest. Corner also had a pair of touchdowns called back.
The game was Senior Night for Sumiton Christian. Six seniors: Austin Clark, Tyler Busby, Trey Collins, John DeFore, Nathan Godwin and Aaron Tucker each played their final high school game.
“This group was here when I first got the job,” Sumiton Christian coach Greg Patterson said. “I have real close ties with those guys. We’ve been through a lot, going from a losing season to the playoffs to this injury-plagued season. We didn’t have the year we hoped for, but those guys fought every play this year.”
Byrd got the Yellow Jackets on the board in the opening quarter. He hit Austin Sanford for a 21-yard gain and followed with a six-yard touchdown strike to Dylan Hand. Troy Elliott’s extra point gave Corner a 7-0 lead with 6:36 left in the quarter.
Corner’s next drive featured two impressive touchdown plays with both coming back due to penalties. Sumiton Christian kept things close midway through the second quarter when Nathan Godwin picked off a Byrd pass.
The Yellow Jackets made up for lost time with a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes of the half.
Byrd hit Sanford with an 18-yard strike at the 1:40 mark. Kevin Averhart picked off an Austin Clark pass and took it 35 yards for a score with just 35.7 second left in the quarter. Corner took a 21-0 lead into the lockerroom.
The third quarter featured a litany of errors. Corner fumbled three times in the quarter while Sumiton Christian threw a pair of interceptions and had a fumble.
Despite the mistakes, Corner was able to get on the scoreboard. A Samuel Garrett fumble recovery set up the Jackets at the Sumiton Christian 46-yard line.
Sanford scored on a 22-yard run three plays later for a 28-0 lead just 57 seconds into the third quarter.
Corner got its final touchdown following a 13-play, 80-yard drive that took up the bulk of the fourth quarter. Taylor Crawford capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run on fourth down for a 35-0 lead.
Sumiton Christian got its touchdown at the 1:01 mark when Godwin broke through the line, took the ball from the Corner quarterback and raced 46 yards for the touchdown. Trey Collins made the extra point for the 35-7 final.
For the Jackets, who play at Dadeville to open the Class 4A playoff next week, four players rushed for more than 70 yards led by Crawford, who had 121 yards on 10 carries, all in the second half.
Byrd finished with 84 yards on four carries, Sanford totaled 81 yards on nine carries and Kevin Averhart had 75 yards on five attempts.
Passing the ball, Byrd was 4 of 12 with 58 yards along with two touchdowns and an interception.
The Eagles had trouble moving the ball all night. They finished the game with 134 yards with just 28 coming in the second half.
Quarterback Austin Clark rushed 15 times for 30 yards and also completed 6 of 21 passes for 70 yards with three interceptions.
Defensively, Godwin had a big game for the Eagles, recovering two fumbles, including a return for a touchdown, and picking off a pass. Both Melvin Blackmon and Josh Yates also had fumble recoveries.
For Corner, Averhart had a fumble recovery and an interception, Garrett recovered a fumble and both Hunter Doppler and Hand had interceptions.