Cloudland had smooth sailing on Friday night.
The ‘Landers scored early and often in the first half en route to a 49-0 victory over Hancock County in Region 1-A action at Orr Field.
With the win, Cloudland starts region action with a 1-0 mark and improves to 2-2 on the season.
The ‘Landers set the tone early.
Cloudland covered 72 yards on six plays – including some hard runs by Seth Birchfield – and took a 6-0 lead when Bentley Gilbert caught a six-yard pass from Chase Shell.
Gilbert added the extra point to give CHS a 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game.
On Hancock County’s first possession, Birchfield stepped in front of an Indian pass and raced 56 yards for the pick-six.
Cloudland pushed the lead to 21-0 on the final play of the first quarter as Birchfield scored on a five-yard run and Gilbert added the extra point.
The Cloudland defense continued to limit Hancock County by forcing a quick punt to open the second quarter. Birchfield got his third touchdown of the night with a three-yard run as Cloudland extended the advantage to 27-0.
The CHS defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Elijah Blair on the ensuing possession.
Two plays later, Cloudland got a big play as Gilbert caught a Shell pass and covered 50 yards for the touchdown. The ‘Landers added the two-point conversion as senior Eli Preswood broke through the quagmire for the conversion.
Preswood continued his big sequence on the next Hancock County drive as he forced and recovered an Indian fumble. That turnover led to a seven-yard touchdown from Caleb Sluder with just over a minute to play in the half.
Gilbert added the conversion as CHS held a 42-0 lead at the half.
With a running clock, Cloudland was able to get several younger players involved in the final 24 minutes. CHS saw Tanner Blevins score on a five-yard run in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring for the night.
Birchfield finished the night with 88 yards on 11 carries, while Gage McKinney had three carries for 30 yards. Chase Shell finished the game 2-for-5 passing for 56 yards with two touchdowns, while Luke Tipton and Auston Caraway had 24 yards rushing apiece.
Gilbert had two catches for 56 yards with two touchdowns and was 5-of-6 on extra-point attempts. Gilbert’s five extra points was the most in a single game for Cloudland since 1999 and the second most in a single game in the program’s history.
The ‘Lander defense held Hancock to 52 yards of total offense.
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