GREELEYVILLE -- Scott's Branch High School hung with top-seeded C.E. Murray for a half in their second-round game in the 1A football state playoffs, but CEM used a dominant second half to end the season for Scott's Branch with a 44-6 loss on Friday …
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GREELEYVILLE -- Scott's Branch High School hung with top-seeded C.E. Murray for a half in their second-round game in the 1A football state playoffs, but CEM used a dominant second half to end the season for Scott's Branch with a 44-6 loss on Friday at Willie Benson Stadium.
"I'm already on to next year," said Scott's Branch head coach Leonard Johnson, whose team finished 3-9 on the season. "We only lose three of these guys, and we start our offseason on Monday with our weight program and we'll roll from there."
A very young Scott's Branch team entered the season with Johnson as their new head coach after former head coach Brian Smith left Scott's Branch for C.E. Murray. This is Johnson's second tenure with Scott's Branch as is the case for Smith at CEM.
Scott's Branch advanced to the second by beating a winless Hemingway team last week.
"(Before the season) I thought we'd make the playoffs and get a win or two," said Johnson. "Everything is on schedule. What we have to fix we can't fix until the offseason, and that's what they didn't have with me last year. We had the summer, but we didn't have the offseason, and that's what we're going into now."
CEM got on the board first, scoring on a 45-yard touchdown run to take an 8-0 lead with 2:03 remaining in the first quarter. Scott's Branch answered quickly, however, on an interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back Isiah Washington. Washington jumped a route and took the ball 40 yards for a score to cut the deficit to 8-6 with 10:58 to play in the first half.
C.E. Murray added another score just a couple of minutes later, this time on a 22-yard touchdown run by senior running back Carey Singletary to stretch the lead to 16-6.
The score remained that way until halftime thanks to a pair of key stops by the Scott's Branch defense as well as a terrific punt by punter Ricky Coard.
Scott's Branch stopped CEM once at the SB 7-yard line with 3:36 remaining in the half, and again at the 2 as the first half clock expired. The second stop occurred after Coard unleashed a 49-yard to punt to help flip field position.
The second half was dominated by C.E. Murray, however.
CEM scored four rushing touchdowns, outscoring Scott's Branch 28-0 in the half. CEM controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the half, helping to keep the Eagles off balance.
"They're much stronger than we are," said Johnson. "You can tell they spend some time in the weight room, and that was my biggest concern. We didn't control the line of scrimmage, and we don't win when we don't control the line of scrimmage with this kind of team. They completely dominated our line."
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