Smith-Cotton’s undefeated season came to an end Friday in a 54-28 loss to Belton in the Class 5, District 6 semifinals at Tiger Stadium.
“Obviously you never want to end that way,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ryan Boyer. “… Hats off to Belton, they are a good ball club.”
The Pirates controlled it from the start and running back Zach Willis was tough for the Tigers to bring down all night as he scored two touchdowns in each half.
After a tough quarter and a half for S-C to start the game, the Tigers were able to put together a late first-half touchdown drive to pull within 21-7.
The Tigers got the ball with about five minutes remaining in the first half and they were able to move the ball at a consistent pace for the first time all game.
On a third down at the seven-yard line, Reed scrambled to his left and drilled the ball to Aziere in the middle of the end zone for the score.
But Belton wasted no time scoring in the second half.
Quarterback Justus Shaw faked a handoff on the first play of the second half and ran down the sideline for a 66-yard touchdown.
S-C got a fumble recovery to stop a Belton drive that got to the one-yard line, but the Tigers fumbled it away on the first play of the drive.
Shaw scored from four yards out to put Belton up 33-7 with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Belton then recovered the ensuing kickoff after the Tigers failed to grab it as it bounded down the field.
Willis got a 12-yard touchdown run on the drive to make it 40-7.
“That running back makes them go,” Boyer said. “That’s an all-state caliber running back. When we finally get get him shut down then their quarterback goes.”
The Tigers were able to get a six-yard touchdown run from Caleb Reed late in the third quarter, making it 40-14.
Belton added two touchdowns in the fourth. Reed got a rushing and a passing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Belton got big plays early to build a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
On the first drive of the game, Cody Miller dove forward to pick off Reed’s pass.
The Pirates turned that turnover into seven points. Willis bounced off S-C defenders on a 14-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
After Belton forced a turnover on downs, Willis got around the S-C defense and ran down the Pirate sideline for a 61-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive to put Belton up 14-0 with 8:40 remaining in the first half.
The Tigers went three-and-out on the ensuing dive and the Pirates then drove down the field with the running game.
Shaw then faked a handoff and tossed it to a wide open Nick Snider for a 27-yard touchdown to give Belton a 21-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.