FAYETTEVILLE -- Connor Reece is walking a little lighter today. When you remove a huge chip from your shoulder, it always lightens the load.
Reece and the Shiloh Christian Saints had Tuesday night's season opener against Charleston circled on the calendar for a year after it was throttled 42-14 last season.
Shiloh Christian 77, Charleston 49
Charl – Gerlick 4 run (Wells kick), 8:35
Shiloh – Roth 45 pass from Reece (kick failed), 7:28
Shiloh – Plunkett 24 run (Reece run), 5:20
Charl – Wisdom 55 pass from Rowland (Wells kick), 4:55
Shiloh – Nelson 34 pass from Reece (Plunkett run), 1:52
Charl – Flanagan 39 pass from Rowland (Gerlick run), 0:44
Shiloh – Berus 3 run (Bo kick), 11:05
Charl – Gerlick 1 run (Wells kick), 1:33
Shiloh – Berus 15 run (Bo kick), 0:18
Shiloh – Reece 68 run (Bo kick), 10:51
Charl – Wisdom 59 pass from Rowland (Wells kick), 9:22
Shiloh – Berus 11 run (Bo kick), 6:54
Shiloh – Berus 6 run (Bo kick), 5:18
Shiloh – Plunkett 5 interception return (Bo kick), 4:12
Shiloh – Plunkett 3 run (kick failed), 11:53
Charl – Wisdom 70 pass from Rowland (Wells kick), 11:11
Shiloh – Reece 14 run (Bo kick), 7:40
Charl – Ketter 2 run (Wells kick), 0:33
"We talked about it all spring and summer," Reece said after the game.
The Saints' junior quarterback certainly played like he had something to prove, compiling 448 total yards and accounting for four touchdowns as Shiloh rolled to a 77-49 win Tuesday night in Reynolds Razorback Stadium in the Hootens.com Kickoff Week game.
"Our first goal of the season was to win week one, and we achieved that," Reece said.
Reece was 19 of 25 passing for 319 yards and two touchdowns, and ran nine times for 129 yards and two more scores.
Shiloh (1-0) seized control of the game by scoring four consecutive touchdowns over the third and fourth quarters to turn a close game into a mercy-rule rout.
The first quarter saw the teams combine for 44 points and almost 350 yards of total offense, and the horn sounded with the score tied at 22-22. Scoring slowed down in the second quarter, and it was tied at 29-29 with a little over a minute left when Shiloh swung the momentum its way.
Junior Broc Berus gave the Saints a 36-29 halftime lead when he broke several tackles on a 15-yard fourth-down run and powered into the end zone with just 18 seconds left in the half.
"That was huge. It was a great momentum swing for us," Shiloh coach Jeff Conaway said. "We ran the one-minute offense and it's nice to see the practice pay off for that."
Berus ended the night with 15 carries for 116 yards and four touchdowns. The two-way starter said the big win was what the team was hoping for.
"This sets a tone for the season," Berus said. "When you score that many points against a great team like that, it sets the tone for the season."
Shiloh used the momentum of the Berus touchdown to extend its lead to start the second half when Reece broke loose and ran 68 yards for a touchdown and a two-score lead. Reece actually had two nice runs on the drive, gaining 12 on first down, but the play was negated by a holding penalty.
"That play, we drew it up at halftime, and Coach Conaway called it the first play and there was a flag," Reece said. "So we just called the same play again and the guys did awesome and I just ran from there."
Charleston, which had its 29-game win streak stopped with the loss, bounced back with a 59-yard scoring pass from Jackson Rowland to Mason Wisdom that pulled the Tigers (0-1) within 43-36 with 9:22 left in the third quarter. Rowland, who is replacing Ty Storey at quarterback this season, was 13-of-24 for 311 yards and four touchdowns in his debut. Wisdom caught six passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.
Shiloh dominated the rest of the game as Berus scored on runs of 11 and 6, and Jacob Plunkett intercepted a Rowland pass and returned it five yards for a pick-six. By the time Plunkett scored on a three-yard run to open the fourth quarter, the Saints led 70-36.
"It started upfront," Conaway said. "Our line was very physical, our backs were very physical. We were able to create a few explosive plays through the air and that obviously helps when you're trying to score because (Charleston) had a lot of offense themselves."
The Saints will have more than a week off before hosting Bastrop, La., on Sept. 11 in their home opener at Champions Stadium. Charleston is also off until then when it hosts Prairie Grove.
Sports on 09/03/2015
Print Headline: Shiloh Christian ends Charleston's 29-game win streak