The South Carroll Cavaliers brought out every trick in their bag early on to try and upset undefeated Thomas Johnson, but the Patriots' overpowering running game was too much last night in Winfield.
The Patriots' running game pounded out 360 yards and 19 first downs to come away with a 55-17 win.
Senior running back Bill Helm (895 yards, 12 touchdowns) led the way, rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Colby Cloude added three more running scores.
The Cavaliers (4-3) kept it close trailing 19-10 at the half, but Thomas Johnson (7-0) scored on all five of its second-half possessions.
"They got the makings of a state championship team," said South Carroll coach Gene Brown.
"Thomas Johnson has something going on over there called weightlifting. They just whipped us in the trenches. They're big and strong."
After South Carroll got within 10 at 27-17 when quarterback Tom Luster scored on a 1-yard plunge with 4:42 left in the third quarter, the Patriots scored 28 points.
Following the Cavaliers' score, Fondtain Weedon returned the kickoff 62 yards to the Cavs' 12. Aaron Derwin scored two plays later from the 7 to give the Patriots a 35-17 lead. They never looked back.
The Cavs took a 7-0 lead on the opening possession when Luster found wide receiver Tom Lapato on a 7-yard touchdown pass. The loss tarnished a solid effort from Luster, who was 13 of 26 for 223 yards and a touchdown. But the Cavaliers' passing game couldn't keep up with the Patriots' running game.
A halfback option set up the score on the Cavs' opening drive. Luster pitched to Jason Harich, who threw 55 yards to David Marion to give the Cavs a first-and-goal on the Thomas Johnson 8.
Thomas Johnson answered with a potent running game led by Helm and Cloude. They scored on their first three possessions with drives of 58, 80 and 69 yards.
The Patriots were keeping a Cavaliers' defense off balance, running the ball both inside and outside with a lot of misdirection. Cloude scored from one yard out to tie the score at 7-7 and Helm gave the Patriots their first lead at 13-7 with a 6-yard run with 11:48 left in the half.