Reed put the Rebels on his shoulders by carrying the ball 36 times for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and South’s defense stopped the Hurricanes inside the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Behind its beefy line, South churned out 60 rushing attempts and finished with 19 first downs.
“We played good up front up and our guys controlled the line of scrimmage,” South coach Justin Hilton said. “This is the first game Julian has been healthy and it showed. He came out from the beginning, was explosive and ran hard.”
After the Hurricanes took the opening drive 76 yards, South responded with an 80-yard drive capped by a 2-yard run by Ethan Bergeron.
South pulled ahead on the next drive, a 13-play march that ended with Eli Topping’s 3-yard touchdown run. The Rebels took advantage of good field position when East Hamilton wasn’t able to handle the ensuing kickoff and Gage Durham recovered. Starting on the Hurricanes’ 37, the Rebels scored just three plays later on a 12-yard run by Reed.
The score gave South a 21-7 halftime lead.
East Hamilton closed to 21-17 before the Rebels responded with an 80-yard drive that culminated in Reed’s 15-yard touchdown.
Then it was the South defense’s turn. The Rebels got after Hurricanes quarterback Haynes Eller on fourth down, and Cam Necessary and Topping came up with the sack.
“Coach (Eric) Rowe, our defensive coordinator, made some adjustments and he got pressure on the fourth down and got a big sack,” Hilton said. “It put us in position to win the game.”
The victory set up a second-round rematch with Elizabethton, which edged South 14-13 in a classic game near the end of the regular season.