Following a somewhat sluggish start, the DeSoto Thunderbirds eventually dismantled the visiting Greenville Christian Academy Saints 49-0 at homecoming Friday night. The Saints having opened their season failing to score in its first 12 quarters of play, hoped to change the direction of their season.
It appeared as though the T-Birds were going to take care of business early when the Saints were hit with major holding penalty but a couple of crucial third down conversions kept the door open on Greenville's opening drive. First, the Saints managed to convert a third and 25 play. Later, they gambled on a fourth and 1 just inside DeSoto's side of the 50, thanks to a generous spot by the officials.
DeSoto's defense stiffened and Greenville turned the ball over on downs at the T-Bird 30.
On the first play from scrimmage, DeSoto fumbled the ball right back to the Saints. However, Greenville couldn't take advantage of the turnover and from the midway point of the first quarter on it was all Thunderbirds.
Quarterback Zac Manning, who turned in a second straight outstanding offensive and defensive performance, scored the T-Birds' first touchdown on a 17-yard run with 1:15 to play in the opening quarter.
The Thunderbirds would score the next four times they got possession of the ball for a total of 30 points in the second quarter.
Reed St. Columbia scored his fifth and sixth touchdowns on the season. He also ran in a 2-point conversion. On the first one, he broke free on a 52-yard scamper down the sideline just 28 seconds into the second quarter.
St. Columbia was followed into the end zone by a 63-yard pass from Manning to Jake Halbert with 7:56 to play in the half. Griffin Christine would add a 29-yard run and St. Columbia returned an interception 78 yards for another. The TDs came with 4:02 and 0:28 seconds remaining in the half, respectively.
Leading 36-0 at the intermission, the Mercy Rule kicked in for the second half.
Still, DeSoto put two additional touchdowns on the scoreboard. Christine made his second 29-yard scoring run of the night with 5:12 to play in the third quarter. Bradley Harper scored the game's final TD of the evening on a 55-yard punt return. Harper also tallied a 2-point conversion earlier in the contest.
The T-Birds, 3-0, played a penalty-free contest. They have committed only four penalties in three outings this year. They turned the ball over twice, on a fumble and an interception.
On Friday night, the Thunderbirds travel to Arcola, Miss. to take on the Deer Creek Warriors, 2-1.
Kick off is set for 7 p.m.