Southern claims fifth straight Optimist Bowl
Southern Vance senior running back Qualik Shearin ran for 116 yards and added a key 61-yard touchdown reception as the Raiders claimed their fifth consecutive Optimist Bowl trophy in a 33-8 win over Northern Vance Friday.
Southern players dumped a cooler of water on head coach Lewis Young before accepting the Optimist trophy at midfield in a raucous celebration.
“It was great,” Shearin said of beating Northern, which dropped to 0-4. “The offensive line, the defensive line, linebackers, safeties — the whole defense, the whole offense did their thing out there.”
The Vikings cut Southern’s lead to 13-6 on Trakey Evans’ 20-yard rushing score in the second quarter before the Raiders, who improved to 2-1, answered with the big pass play.
Quarterback Ty-Traveon Roberts hit Shearin, who caught the pass around Northern’s 40-yard line before juking a Viking defender and exploding down the left side for the 61-yard score.
Northern fumbled the ensuing kick at its 18 and Southern’s Laronta Durham scooped it up and took it in for the score before Will Pernell’s point after made it 27-6 with three minutes to play in the first half.
Northern finished with two turnovers on the game.
“Turnovers killed us again,” said Vikings’ head coach Eric Watkins. “This has been going on for four weeks now. We can’t keep making these mental mistakes.”
Roberts finished 6-of-13 passing for 150 yards and rushed for 27 yards and a score.
Southern’s Jeremiah Williams picked up a Roberts’ fumble in the first quarter and ran it in from about 40 yards.
William Henderson tacked on Southern’s final score on an 8-yard rush set up by an electric Shearin run down the right side. Shearin reached the end zone, but the play was called back.
Northern scored two points on a safety with 8:05 to play.
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