Puckett sets mark in victory
Nick Puckett ran for 306 yards and four touchdowns for Southern.
By JOHN BUTERA
EAST PALESTINE -- Somewhere you can't help but think Matt Puckett is smiling.
Puckett, who was buried Thursday following his death in a tragic car accident, would no doubt have been proud of his brother Nick as he led Southern to an easy 45-15 victory over East Palestine Saturday in the Bulldogs' stadium.
Nick Puckett, who rushed for four touchdowns, finished with 306 yards on 26 carries to break his brother's single-game mark of 272 yards.
The mark was shattered when Nick Puckett broke loose for 46 yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
"Matt would have been really proud of Nick," said his father, Sam Puckett. "Right after the accident, Nick said he didn't want to play anymore, because he didn't want to see Matt's name taken down off the record board."
Matt has the career rushing record at Southern (3,288 yards). Coming into Saturday's contest at East Palestine, Nick had 2,951.
"We told Nick, Matt had two other records and if they are broken, he would have wanted his brother [Nick] to do it," said Sam Puckett.
Early and often
Southern wasted little time scoring, thanks to a blocked punt by Zach Russell giving the Indians the football at the Bulldogs' 14-yard line.
Puckett rushed three straight times, scoring on a 1-yard run. He ran over a two-point conversion for a 8-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, Puckett raced 72 yards for a TD and again ran for the two-point conversion and a 16-0 margin.
When he wasn't running with the ball, he was confusing the Bulldogs' defense with misdirection double handoffs.
With his team leading 24-8, Puckett was at it again as he raced 55 yards for a TD and a 31-8 lead at intermission. He rushed for 178 yards on 13 carries during the first half.
Tom Powers scored on a 6-yard run and George Smith ran over the two-point conversion for the Bulldogs in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs added two more TDs in the fourth quarter as Gary Sensenbaugher caught a 67-yard TD strike pass from Nick Dicello and Geoff Saylers scored on a 6-yard run.