If anyone was caught off guard by the South High football team putting up 54 points in a Friday night game against Highland, that surprise was at least partial shared by Rebel coach Cary Mills.
"There was a lot of scoring," said Mills, whose team earned a 54-30 win. "More than I expected."
But when a run game clicks like South's did Friday, expectations are sure to rise.
After averaging 38.75 yards per rush on just four carries in a win over West a week ago, quarterback King Ellis made the most of expanded opportunities to tote the rock against Highland. Ellis finished the night with 259 yards and a whopping six touchdown runs on 28 carries.
After torching the Scots with his legs all night, Ellis put the game away with his arm. Rolling to his right, with the entire defense keying on him, Ellis stopped and delivered a strike to James Jones, who was all by himself near the goal line, scoring a game-sealing 37-yard touchdown pass, the seventh his quarterback accounted for.
Though Ellis was the star, he got plenty of help in the attack from DeeShawn Brown, who added 118 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries.
Ellis, Brown and Tyrone Wilson have formed a three-headed backfield monster in recent weeks and it's caused a scoring explosion. After scoring 17 points in each of their first two games, the Rebels are averaging 44.5 over the last two.
"These three guys ... if they get enough space in front of them, all three of them are gone," said Mills, whose team improved to 3-1. "When those guys are running the ball so well, it can be hard to key in on any guy on one play."
In defeat, quarterback AJ Cleveland threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns while running for 62 and another score for the Scots, who fell to 2-2.
SHAFTER 43, MIRA MONTE 6
A normally dominant passing attack took a back seat to a run game that put up 225 yards, as 4-0 Shafter coasted to a 37-point win, its closest margin of victory this season.
Walker Maino led the attack with 107 yards and two touchdowns. Though he didn't throw for a touchdown, quarterback Tyson Dozhier did run for two for the Generals, who also got a fumble return touchdown from Joey Sanchez.
GOLDEN VALLEY 28, ARVIN 22
To complete a perfect regular season, Shafter will have to go through another unbeaten, as the Bulldogs will also be 4-0 when they host the Generals next Friday.
Marquel Bruley threw touchdown passes to Nick Abbot and Rickardo Marlon Smart Jr. while Iziah Coronado ran for 126 yards and two scores on the ground for Golden Valley.
The Bears (0-4) made things interesting with a 9-yard Mauricio Vasquez touchdown run with 1:37 to play, but were unable to close the gap further.
LIBERTY 44, STOCKDALE 14
Prentice Boone rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns and the Patriots coasted to a 4-0 record with a 30-point win.
Quarterback Hayden Mann accounted 242 yards of offense and threw a touchdown to Jojo Montecinos. On defense Luke Wattenbarger and William Kanavalov both had interceptions.
CENTENNIAL 31, RIDGEVIEW 12
Quarterback Levi Manning accounted for three touchdowns, Noe Estrada had a 91-yard kickoff return touchdown and the Golden Hawks improved to 2-2 with a thorough win over Ridgeview.
Reese Maricich had two interceptions and AJ Morgan two sacks for the Centennial defense. Marcus Level threw a late touchdown pass for the Wolf Pack, who dropped to 0-3.
NORTH 20, WEST 13
Freshman quarterback Carson Bennett threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns, receiver Xavion Foreman had 127 yards receiving and the Stars outlasted West for their second win in a row, improving to 2-2 on the season.
West (0-4) was led by quarterback Daylon Leach, who ran for 115 yards and passed for two touchdowns, both to Alon Murray.
FOOTHILL 36, KERN VALLEY 34
The Trojan defense closed out a nail-biter late, halting a Kern Valley two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game with 27 seconds to play.
The stop lifted Foothill to 2-2 on the year. Kern Valley, which got four total touchdowns from quarterback Kaden Preston, falls to 0-4.