FRIDAY FOOTBALL: Young runs Trojans to 26-0 win
Dominique Young dominated on the ground Friday.
The senior running back, who scored four times last week against Ashe County, reached the end zone three times Friday against the Smoky Mountain Mustangs.
His 28-carry, 152-yard rushing performance, along with a Bandys defense that gave up less than 100 yards of total offense, guided the Trojans to a 26-0 victory over the Mustangs. Bandys advances to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
"Dom, for us, is the total package," said Bandys coach Randy Lowman. "He has a little bit of size. He runs with power. He's got enough speed when he does get room to make them hurt a little bit. We've done that with him all year."
A week after falling behind early to Ashe County, the Trojans offense dominated early against Smoky Mountain and finished with 204 yards in the first half. That included 159 yards on the ground, and Young rushed for 117 of those.
"That's our game," Young said of the rushing attack. "That's what we do. It just works, so we keep doing it. We played hard, harder than they did. We practiced really hard and watched film a lot. We were prepared with what they were going to do."
After a three-and-out on the Mustangs' opening possession, Young rushed the ball seven times for 52 yards on the Trojans first offensive set. He capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run to put Bandys up 7-0 with 7:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Bandys' only first-half gaffe — a fumble by Young on the Trojans' second drive — gave the Mustangs an opportunity in Trojan territory, but they could not convert.
The Mustangs also struggled rushing the football. The duo of Blake Smith and Michael George — who each rushed for more than 100 yards last week against Bunker Hill — was held to a combined nine carries for two yards in the half.
"Defense is what has carried us," Lowman said. "Our guys play pretty hard, and they get more physical as the year has went along. Right now, it's the combination that works for us. We don't do a lot of things differently. We don't do anything fancy."
While Smoky Mountain struggled on the ground, Bandys continued to thrive. Young's second drive to run the football was even more successful than the first. The senior helped run a lot of first half clock with 12 carries for 65 yards. He added his second score of the game with 5:03 left in the half to put the Trojans up 13-0.
Bandys got the ball back after another Mustangs drive stalled, and the Trojans had a chance to score again before halftime. Running back Devan Davis helped move the ball down to the 9-yard line with 42 yards of rushing, but Bandys stalled on fourth down.
"We should have finished this drive down here right before the half," Lowman said. "We didn't get that one in. It would have made things a little easier on us."
Smoky Mountain improved offensively in the second half, equaling their 13 first half offensive yards on the first three plays of the second frame. Still, the Mustangs only managed to earn two first downs in the half and three overall in the game.
Defensively, the Trojans were stout all game, allowing a combined 55 yards of offense.
"We practiced hard on defense," Young said. "We knew they were going to run the ball at us. We just knew we had to stop it and played great tonight."
After a late 3-yard touchdown run by Tewon Smith, the Trojans ended the night with 215 yards on the ground, compared to 13 for the Mustangs. Overall, Bandys outgained Smoky Mountain 269-55.
Bandys travels to Shelby next week for its first third-round game since 2008. The Golden Lions defeated Chase on Friday, 29-7.
"We've played good at Shelby," Lowman said. "We've won down there a couple of times. They are a great football team. We're going to go down there, play our game and hope things work out."
Young said he and his teammates are anxious for their next postseason challenge.
"It's really exciting," Young said. "We're glad we made it. We're just going to start preparing for next week."