High school football: Airline shakes off slow start, throttles Southwood

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The Airline Vikings shook off a slow start and rolled to a 42-13 District 1-5A victory over the Southwood Cowboys Friday night at Independence Stadium.

The Vikings (4-1, 2-0) are in a three-way tie for first in the district with Haughton (5-0, 2-0) and Captain Shreve (4-1, 2-0). Airline hosts Haughton Friday.

After neither team scored in the first quarter, the Vikings scored three touchdowns in the second. Jaquarious Rabon scored on a short run to get Airline on the board.

The Vikings’ pass-catch combination of Alex Garcia and Daniel Smith has been very successful this season and Friday night’s game was no exception.

Garcia connected with Smith for a 10-yard touchdown with 1:22 left in the half. The PAT gave Airline a 14-0 lead.

The Cowboys returned the ensuing kickoff deep in Vikings territory and eventually scored to cut Airline’s lead in half.

But Garcia completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Williams on the final play of the half.

The Vikings got a quick stop early in the third quarter. Garcia then hit Smith for 61 yards and a touchdown and the lead ballooned to 28-7.

“Started a little slow offensively,” Airline head coach Bo Meeks said. “I thought we really played well from the second quarter on offensively. For the most part, the defense was solid all night. I thought they did a really good job of just kind of dictating the game. Just came out and took care of business and got a good win.”

Airline’s final two TDs came on a Garcia pass to Devin Bilbo and a short run by Jamal Johnson.

Receiver Kevin Pouncy also contributed with several receptions. Michael Smith had two interceptions.

Southwood (0-5, 0-2) has struggled for many years now. But Meeks said the Cowboys always turn in a solid effort against his teams.

“I thought they competed,” he said. “Every year we’ve played them they’ve always competed. But we kind of took over in the second quarter. The second and third quarter is where we kind of took it to them.”

Meeks is looking forward to the challenge of playing Haughton, which defeated Benton 36-7 Friday. Airline won only three games last year, but the Vikings were one of only two teams to defeat Haughton in the regular season.

“I think the kids will be excited,” he said “Little different being on fall break so we’ve got to be ready to prepare. Be a challenge to have everybody there and ready to work and get ready for a huge game and a huge opportunity for us.”