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By NICK WILLIAMS
Stone Memorial has had a tough first few weeks playing some pretty good competition to open the 2012 season. The Panthers were looking forward to an easier weekend on their Homecoming match. For Stone Memorial, easy was not what they received from Kingston, especially from the rushing attack as the Jackets cruised to a 17-0 victory.
Kingston started the game with good field position as the Stone Memorial special teams sent the opening kickoff out of bounds.
Kingston’s opening offensive series started at the 35 yard line, with leading rusher Brody Roberts, Dustin Kitts and Rhett Jones leading the way down the field, Kingston’s 65-yard opening drive was capped off by a 44-yard hard nose run up the gut from Roberts putting the Jackets on the board first.
Keaton Shillings added the PAT to give the Jackets a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest.
Stone Memorial did show signs of life later in the first period with a big time stop on a fourth-and-one situation by Kingston, but just could not get the ball rolling on offense. The Panthers picked up just five first downs on the night with just one coming in the first half.
With 9:05 left in the second quarter, Jacket QB Brandon Ott scrambled for a few yards converting on a fourth down play. Ott's run set up a 30-yard touchdown run by Dustin Kitts at the 6:35 mark in the second putting the Jackets up 14-0 over Stone Memorial.
Late in the second period, Kingston's offense was driving again, but Stone Memorial’s defense held strong, sacking Ott with 50 seconds left in the half setting up a fourth down for the Jackets. Kingston head coach Blair Harrison, deliberating on what to do, sent the field goal unit out on the field for a 38-yard field goal for their first year kicker, Keaton Shillings.
First year or not, Shillings has shown to all that he has the leg to get the job done, and with time running out in the first half, Shillings drilled the kick right down the middle stretching the lead to 17.
Stone Memorial got the ball to start the second half and came out fast on offense, but the drive stalled around midfield, allowing Aaron Acosta to showcase his skills on special teams. Acosta, a leading receiver for the Jackets, fielded the punt around the 30 yard line and returned the ball for a Kingston touchdown, but was waved off due to a block in the back.
Kingston’s offense struggled the rest of the third quarter due to the Panthers’ halftime adjustments on defense. Kingston netted just two first downs and 29 total yards in the third period.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Kingston got back to what they do best, sending Roberts up the gut. Roberts ended the game rushing for more than 100 yards.
With 7:24 left in the game Kingston’s Preston Edmonds broke some tackles and squirted free for a big run, but a questionable fumble call gave the ball back to Stone Memorial.
Late in the game, the Panthers had some big runs but it was too little too late as the game ended with a final score of 17-0.
Kingston ended the game with 280 yards offense on 49 plays. Most of those yards came on the ground, as the Jackets rolled up 254 yards rushing. Roberts (16-111-1 TD) and Kitts (9-94-1 TD) were the leaders of Kingston's ground attack.
Kingston's defense held Stone Memorial to 126 yards total offense. Three of the Panthers five first downs came on their final possession of the night.
Kingston improves to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in District 4-AA on the year and travels to Lenoir City next week. Lenoir City was ranked No. 2 in Class 5A last week.