Cornerstone runs past Coosa Valley in Game of the Week

LaDarius King took a handoff from quarterback Lance Benton and darted into the end zone untouched from 75 yards out midway through the fourth quarter to cap Cornerstone Christian School’s 20-0 shut out of Coosa Valley Academy in the Shelby County Reporter Game of the Week.

A few minutes later, King’s coach, Tim Smith, made a scary statement in the locker room following the victory.

“LaDarius had never played running back before this year,” Smith said. “He’s still learning.”

King, a transfer from Chelsea High School, played like he’s a veteran in the backfield Friday night as he led the Chargers to the win over the rival Rebels by rushing for 265 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Cornerstone (2-0) finished with 375 yards rushing in the win and wore down the Coosa Valley defense in the second half with its punishing rushing attack.

Smith credited former NFL player Otis Leverette, who trained with the Chargers during the offseason to keep their conditioning at an impressive level.

“We could have played a little more if we had to,” Smith said. “We play for the fifth quarter, not the fourth quarter. That’s what we do. We run the football.”

Josh Anderson provided a nice balance to King’s speed with his power. Anderson rushed for 74 yards in the win, including a 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Anderson and King benefitted from a solid offensive line and Colton Wingard’s lead blocks from his fullback position. Following the impressive win over Coosa Valley, Smith is confident the Chargers’ three-headed rushing attack can carry Cornerstone a long way in 2009.

“We’ve got a good crew of running backs,” Smith said.

On the other hand, Coosa Valley (1-2) struggled to get anything going offensively. The Rebels put together a few impressive drives before a costly turnover doomed the offensive runs.

The Rebels turned the ball over five times in the loss. Cornerstone coughed it up five times as well.

Coosa Valley coach Vince DiLorenzo said he had concerns about how his defense would stop the Chargers’ rushing attack entering the game.

“They’re a big, physical football team,” DiLorenzo said. “We knew that coming in. They ran it down our throat. That’s what I was afraid they would do.”

Phillip Neal led the Rebels by completing 5-of-19 passes for 35 yards. Coosa Valley finished with only 70 yards of total offense in the loss.

“We fought, fought and fought some more,” DiLorenzo said. “We’re going to regroup and we’re going to continue to try to play well enough to make it to the playoffs. That’s our goal.”

Both teams struggled in the first half with turnovers and ineffective play. KaDarius King missed a field goal late in the first half as neither team could sustain a drive long enough to put points on the scoreboard.

LaDarius King changed things in a hurry in the second half. His 1-yard touchdown run and successful two-point conversion early in the third quarter finally gave the Chargers some momentum. Coosa Valley fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Cornerstone never looked back as King and Anderson rushed for a touchdown each to seal the win.

DiLorenzo said the turnover after the touchdown was too much for his team to overcome.

“That mistake in the kicking game really hurt us,” DiLorenzo said.