Cloudland run game tramples Eagles

Published 12:58 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
If you have followed Cloudland football through the years one thing is constant – they will maul you with the run game. Friday night at Orr Field was no different as senior running back Seth Birchfield ran for 233 yards and six scores as the Highlanders bruised Oakdale 60-16 in round two of the TSSAA Class 1-A playoffs.
“My line did a heck of a job tonight,” ‘Landers head coach Zac Benfield said. “From the first play to the last they played their butts off on the offensive and defensive side. Chase (Shell) got hurt in the last game but Camden Peppers has the heart of a warrior. He really wants to win.”
Birchfield scored on runs of 38, 28, 25 and five yards as the ‘Landers built a 38-8 halftime advantage. Senior running back Caleb Sluder rushed for 86 first-half yards and a two-point conversion.
Cloudland quarterback Chase Shell was injured in last week’s victory over Greenback and was replaced by freshman Camden Peppers.
Oakdale (8-4 overall) got a 41-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Eli Davis to sophomore Nehemiah Cooney and found Cooney for the two-point conversion as well.
In the second half, the Eagles couldn’t find any traction and penalties set them back as well as Oakdale went three-and-out to open the period.
Cloudland wasted no time in making it a running clock contest as Birchfield capped off a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a nine-yard plunge – his fifth touchdown of the game for a 44-8 lead.
Birchfield scored his sixth touchdown of the contest on a 41-yard blast around left end to make it a 52-8 advantage. Peppers capped off the scoring on the night for Cloudland with a 35-yard scoring strike to junior Gage McKinney for a 60-8 lead.
“Cam learns quick and his transition from the first half to the second half was huge and that’s a testament to the kind of kid he is,” Benfield said. “He started out in the first half a little sluggish, and a bit nervous. But my offensive line I can’t say enough about. Silas, Eli, Landon, Dylan, and Cayden all played great, every single one of them.”
Oakdale showed they had fight in them as Ja’Veon Gipson scored on a 50-yard blast up the gut and Davis hit Cooney with the deuce as the clock struck zero.
Sluder rushed for 121 yards on 20 tries. The ‘Landers will host Region 2, number-one seed Coalfield next Friday after Coalfield’s 41-6 win over Midway.

TSSAA Round 2 Class 1-A
Cloudland 60-16
Oakdale 0 8 0 8 – 16
Cloudland 16 22 6 16 – 60
Scoring summary
First Quarter
C – Birchfield 38 run (Birchfield run) 10:03
C – Birchfield 28 run (Peppers pass to McKinney) 2:42
Second Quarter
C – Sluder 2 run (run failed) 10:39
C – Birchfield 25 run (Peppers pass to Simerly) 7:09
C – Birchfield 5 run (Sluder run) 1:31
O – Cooney 41 pass from Davis (Davis pass to Gipson) :37
Third Quarter
C – Birchfield 9 run (pass failed) 6:23
Fourth Quarter
C – Birchfield 41 run (Peppers pass to McKinney) 11:29
C – McKinney 35 pass from Peppers (Sluder run) 3:37
O – Gipson 50 run (Davis pass to Cooney) 0:00