Charleston sent the 3A-4 coaches a message Friday they probably didn’t want to hear — the Tigers can run the football, too.
Austin Pittman dashed 60 yards for a touchdown on the Tigers’ second play from scrimmage as the 6-foot, 200-pound senior finished with 108 yards rushing and three touchdowns — all in the first half — as the No. 1 Tigers erupted for a 42-14 win against Danville.
Charleston had such an easy time of it, racking up 274 yards and leading by six touchdowns at the half, that coach Greg Kendrick was able to use all three of his quarterbacks — Ty Storey, Chance Shelby and Wade Gerlick. Storey was his usual self, passing for 99 yards on 8-of-8 passes and a touchdown.
He didn’t play after the first quarter.
"(Storey) could have gone back in there but we kept him out for precautionary reasons," Charleston coach Greg Kendrick said. "I’ve never had a game where we played three quarterbacks in a half. We feel like we have three guys very capable."
Pittman’s early touchdown set the tone. While the Tigers were generating some quick offense, Danville was struggling against the first-team Tigers’ defense, sputtering for just seven yards on its first nine offensive plays.
Pittman had a 9-yard touchdown run on the Tigers’ third offensive series. He rumbled 29 yards for another TD early in the second quarter.
"It’s my fault we haven’t gotten him the ball that much," Kendrick said. "We have so many weapons, but he was itching to go."
Pittman’s 108-yard effort made him the Tigers’ first 100-yard rusher since Dustin Shelby in 2011.
Charleston had two defensive touchdowns. Dillon Walker’s 17-yard fumble return made it 21-0 midway through the first quarter and Hayden Newhart returned an interception 59 yards for another TD. Newhart, who caught four passes for 34 yards, now has five interceptions for the season.
Danville actually outgained Charleston in the second quarter, with backup Cole Tate ripping off a 43-yard run to the Tigers’ 9 on the next-to-last play of the first half.
"I told our kids, that’s how you play the game," Danville coach D.J. Crane said. "We want to get to that point. We were one of the top teams in 2A and we’re young in 3A, and we’re trying to get up there to that level. It may take a few years, but if our kids buy into what we’re doing, we’re going to get there."
Danville scored twice in the second half, both on long touchdown runs. Tate, who finished with 127 yards, ran 51 yards for the first touchdown with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
Grant Cathey finished the scoring with a 74-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left in the game. Cathey finished with 134 rushing yards. The Little Johns finished with 296 rushing yards — mostly against Tigers’ backups.