Tage Johnson

South's Tage Johnson receives a handoff from Jacoba Fells during a spring exhibition game Friday against Blanche Middle School. Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns in the 30-20 loss.

The South Middle School Trojans lost to the Blanche Bulldogs 30-20 at home Friday in a spring exhibition game.

The Trojans fell into a deep hole in the first half and a comeback effort after halftime would come up a few scores short.

South football head coach Greg Greenhaw, who joined the program in March, said his team has made a lot of progress in their 10 days of spring practices and showed a lot of fight in the second half.

“I was a little worried in the first half. We were a little bit like a deer in the headlights at halftime,” he said. “(The coaches) challenged them at halftime to come out and play a great second half, get some turnovers, make some plays and get us right back in this ballgame, and they did.

“If I get that kind of effort out of these kids every week, we’re going to win a lot more games than we’re going to lose. I promise you that,” he added.

The Trojans started the scrimmage with the ball and quickly worked down the field with Tage Johnson running the ball into the end zone for a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game.

The Bulldogs responded with a touchdown drive of their own and added a two-point conversion to take an 8-6 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.

After a simulated punt by the Trojans, the Bulldogs immediately fumbled the ball away with Derrick Smith recovering the turnover for South. However, the Trojans would give the ball right back with a fumble a few plays later.

The Bulldogs broke off a long touchdown run to boost the deficit up to 14-6 with 3:31 remaining in the first half.

An interception by the Trojans quickly turned into another rushing touchdown for the Bulldogs to make it a 22-6 game with 3:16 left in the quarter.

The Bulldogs scored one more touchdown and added a two-point conversion as time expired in the first half.

The Trojans trailed 30-8 at halftime.

The Bulldogs seemed to be on their way to another touchdown to start the second half, but the Trojans forced a fumble inside of their own 10-yard line with Carson Moore scooping the ball up and running it to the opposing 5-yard line.

Jacoba Fells snuck the ball in a few plays later to make it a 30-12 game to start the fourth quarter.

The Trojans made another defensive stop on their next possession and forced a punt to get the ball back.

Fells broke off a long run to get the ball inside of the 5-yard line, and Johnson ran the ball in from there for a touchdown with 3:25 remaining. Fells added a two-point conversion to cut the deficit down to 10 points.

However, the Bulldogs ran out the clock from there as the Trojans lost by 10.

The Trojans will open their 2022 season on Aug. 2 at South Giles Middle School. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.