NEW ALBANY • C.J. Hill was king of the hill as the sophomore running back gashed the Shannon defense for seven touchdowns, six rushing and one receiving, as he led New Albany to the 54-32 first round win in the Class 4A playoffs.
Hill unofficially had 303 yards as he ran with authority for the Bulldogs.
“My O-line was opening up a lot of holes and when it’s that easy to run, it’s a good night for me,” Hill said. “Coach told us that he knew we could control the line of scrimmage, so if it gets to the point where you’re running on safeties then that’s what we like.”
Shannon led 16-13 after a quarter as Talon Doss returned the opening kickoff 76 yards for a score and Sentwali White ran in from the 5, while Hill picked up his first two scores for New Albany.
Hill’s third TD gave the Bulldogs a brief lead in the second period at 20-16, but Shannon went to the half up 24-20 as Jamarcus Shines scored on a 4-yard run.
The second half belonged to the Bulldogs as they hung 34 points up while holding Shannon to one score for the 54-32 final.
“I think we just needed to stay calm and continue to play the football game for four quarters,” New Albany coach Cody Stubblefield said. “The offensive line took over the second half and CJ Hill ran extremely well.”
Turning Point: New Albany took the opening possession of the second half and drove 59 yards for the score and the Bulldogs took the lead for good at 27-24.
Point Man: Hill had six rushing touchdowns of 2, 34, 8, 11, 47 and 15 yards. He also caught a TD pass from Charlie Lott that covered 20 yards.
Talking Point: “They (New Albany) kept playing and we didn’t, so hats off to them, good job and they deserved to go to the second round.” – Shannon coach Darrl Carter
• New Albany overcame a four-point Shannon lead at the half by scoring 20 third quarter points to seize control of the game and take a 40-24 lead after three periods.
• Ramaryon Crawford returned a shanked punt 54 yards to give New Albany a 16-point lead in the third quarter.
• New Albany (8-3) travels to Greenwood (11-0) in next week’s second round of 4A football playoffs while Shannon ends their season at 5-7.