By John Balch
The Dierks Outlaws’ offense improved Friday night to open conference play but the Howard County team could not hold off the Mountain Pine Red Devils and dropped to 0-4 on the season with a 42-12 loss.
Mountain Pine rolled up 352 total yards with 337 coming on 40 rushes which included six touchdowns. MP’s passing game accounted for 15 yards.
Dierks’ offense totaled their highest this season with 221 yards – 76 on the arm of quarterback Grant Strasner and 145 on the ground. Strasner threw one interception and also rushed for a TD.
Brayden Kirby led the ground game with 17 carries for 79 yards and one TD while Jarett Fox collected 43 yards on 10 carries. Lane Tabler added to the total with three carries for 28 yards. Kirby, Blayn Turner and Elvin Wilson each pulled in two passes.
MP put the six points in the board in the first quarter before adding 22 more points before the half for a 28-6 lead. Dierks’ first points came in the second quarter when Strasner dashed in from two yards out. The Outlaws were held scoreless in the third while MP added seven for a 35-6 lead going into the final quarter.
Dierks’ final score of the night came at the 9:10 mark when Kirby capped a drive with a three-yard TD. MP tacked on their final seven points at the 6:46 mark to set the 42-12 score.
The Outlaw defense was led by George Thomas with five stops and Colt Kuykendall and Turner with four stops each. Also registering on the tackle chart were Cameron Pugh, Strasner, Tabler, Fox, Jon Wilbanks, Jackson Bearden, Brian Burk and Kelby Jewell.
The Outlaws were penalized just three times for three yards while Mountain Pine was flagged twice for a total of 11 yards. The Outlaws lost 1/1 fumbles. The Red Devils had no turnovers in the game.
Dierks will head to Foreman Friday night to face the 3-0 Gators. MP will host the 0-4 MS Hornets.