POTOSI – The North County football team established a swift tempo during its first offensive series on Friday night, and Potosi was never able to fully match the high energy level.
The starting defense did not surrender a touchdown, and three different players rushed for triple-digit yardage as the Raiders stamped a dominant 54-17 road victory.
North County (6-2) converted 5-of-6 times on fourth down, including once during each of its first three scoring drives, and remained on course for a No. 3 seed in the Class 4, District 1 playoff standings.
Jaelen Reed recorded 102 yards on 14 carries, and scored three touchdowns while adding three 2-point conversions. He was featured prominently within a 16-play march in the second quarter.
Briley Smith scored just two minutes into the action with a 24-yard touchdown scamper, and finished with a team-high 133 yards on 15 attempts for the Raiders.
Potosi (3-5) was limited to 73 total yards in the first half, and did not produce an official completed pass. An excellent grab by senior Zach Haynes was negated by a personal foul penalty.
Linebacker and captain Colin Govero was carried off the field with an apparent leg injury with less than six minutes to play amid an already frustrating Senior night for the Trojans.
North County briefly moved backward on its second drive following a Govero sack, but Smith gained 12 yards after Potosi jumped offside in a fourth-and-8 situation.
Reed covered the final 9 yards in exceptional fashion by reversing directions and crossing the surface toward the left pylon, and Noah Mecey caught his second 2-point conversion pass for a 16-0 advantage.
Govero galloped 44 yards on the longest Potosi play from scrimmage, and Haynes kicked a 25-yard field goal after a third-down pass was tipped away by Sean Pruneau in the end zone.
Haynes initially extended that possession while running for a first down out of punt formation, but the Trojans would not reach the red zone again until late in the contest.
North County would respond immediately after quarterback Kolten Poorman moved the chains with a throw to Pruneau on fourth down.
Briley Smith nearly went the distance on a 38-yard burst that included a broken tackle in the second level. Tucker Smith plowed ahead from the 2 to create a 24-3 lead.
The Raiders ran 11 consecutive times during their subsequent 80-yard drive, and Briley Smith pushed the margin to 32-3 with a 4-yard touchdown.
Potosi then picked up a personal foul penalty that allowed North County to kick off from the 50, but a short bounce was taken and returned 57 yards by Bryce Reed for a special teams TD.
North County stalled at the Potosi 9 just before halftime, but eventually invoked a continuous clock on scoring runs of 15 and 5 yards by Reed to inflate its 32-10 lead.
Cole Ziegler made a leaping 36-yard catch prior to Reed’s third scoring run, and North County forced yet another three-and-out heading into the fourth quarter.
Poorman added 1-yard sneak with 10:32 to play, and tallied 108 yards on 20 carries. He was 15-of-27 passing for 143 yards, connecting five times with Pruneau. Ziegler and Mecey made four catches each.
Tucker Smith sacked Potosi quarterback Andrew Coleman, and Carson Hughes provided an interception down the stretch for the North County defense.
Potosi junior Ethan Brown capped the game with a 12-yard touchdown run, and defensive lineman Kalub Evans added a sack.
North County will host Fredericktown next week while Potosi travels to De Soto in the regular season finale.