By John McWilliams
The Times-Daily, Florence
MUSCLE SHOALS — The Muscle Shoals defense held Mortimer Jordan to 127 total yards of total offense on Friday night, as the No.5-ranked Trojans cruised to a 55-6 victory at home in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The win marked the largest margin of victory by a Muscle Shoals team in the playoffs in school history.
The Blue Devils found success on the first play of the game with a 51-yard pass, but the Muscle Shoals (10-1) defense responded and forced back-to-back incompletions before a turnover on downs.
From there, it was all Trojans.
Landon Smothers (108 rushing yards, 95 passing, 4 total TDs) kept the ball on the zone-read option and darted 51 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. On the Trojans’ ensuing possession, Carson Hollingsworth found a crease between the linebackers and galloped in from 22 yards out as time expired in the first quarter to give Muscle Shoals an early 14-0 lead.
"The mojo was just on," Smothers said. "We did what we had to do. The lineman did a great job and we all did a great job. We just don't think about who we're playing because I know who we are and what we can do."
The offensive line continued to wear down the Blue Devils' front, using an 11-play, 51-yard drive capped with a 2-yard run by Deven Sullivan (10 carries, 67 yards, 1 TD). The Trojans only needed one play to find the end zone on each of their next two possessions, as Smothers eluded the defense with a 30-yard touchdown scramble before connecting with Martavius Mims for a 39-yard touchdown pass and entered halftime with a 34-6 advantage.
Drew Sockwell caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Smothers to take a 41-6 lead to end the third quarter. Jeremy Thigpen added a 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth and Kenri Howell returned a fumble with only a few seconds left in regulation for the 55-6 win.
The Trojans were content running the ball for most of the second half, finishing the game with a whopping 385 rushing yards. Kavonte McDonald tallied 71 rushing yards, three shy of 1,000 for the season, and averaged 8.9 yards per carry.
"They're tough," Jordan coach Dusty Goode said. "I know their coaching staff and known them for a while, and they're a good football team. We're a young team and trying to grow and hopefully, if these folks will stay with us, be like them one day."
Devlin Hodges, playing his final high school game, gave the Devils their only score of the night on a 31-yard pass to Landon Smith in the right corner of the end zone. Hodges was 12-of-30 for the night for 114 yards.
Muscle Shoals will host Parker next Friday night in the second round of the playoffs. Jordan finishes the season with a 4-7 record.
© 2013, The Times-Daily. Used by permission.