October 20, 2009 9:49:00 AM
PHEBA -- Effective running back tandems should have nicknames.
Hebron Christian''s Ryan Pinnix and Marques Robinson are no different.
You likely could add J.D. Edwards to the mix and create a three-headed monster that is even more dangerous.
But Pinnix and Robinson showed Friday night that their "Thunder and Lightning" could do plenty of damage, even on a clear evening.
Robinson rushed for a game-high 104 yards and two touchdowns, while Pinnix added 60 yards and another score to help Hebron Christian beat Immanuel 40-8 in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools A District 3 game.
Hebron Christian coach Greg Watkins said it looked like his team is accustomed to playing in mud. He said the mud just might help the Eagles because it appeared to slow the Rams down.
Robinson and Pinnix capitalized, even though Robinson carried the ball only three times. He scored touchdowns of 61 and 21 yards on his first touch touches and settled for a 22-yard gain on his only carry of the second half.
"The offensive line has been staying on its blocks (to help get me to the outside)," Robinson said.
Said Pinnix, "The line is very important to us. They block down and to the outside. If they don''t do their job, we will be crashed in the backfield every time."
Watkins said opponents have keyed on Robinson the past few weeks, so it was good to see him have success, as well as Pinnix
"Ryan is pretty consistent up the middle for 3 to 7 yards, and he pounds up the middle and opens up the outside," Watkins said. "They had one guy matched up with J.D., and he went everywhere with him, and that opened up the backside for Marques, and Marques took advantage of it."
Robinson, who is 5-foot-5, 145 pounds, and Pinnix, who is 5-8, 193, resemble a "scat back," a la former New York Giants running back Dave Meggett enjoy working together because they make each other''s job easier.
Robinson said Pinnix opens up the inside and wears defenses down, which opens things up on the inside. The threat of Robinson allows Pinnix to bull through gaps in the middle for good yardage on every carry.
"They complement each other," Watkins said. "Our quarterback (Yance Falkner) does a good job of hiding the ball and the guys do a good job of carrying out the fakes, so if they concentrate on us outside, we are able to run it up the middle. If they concentrate on us up the middle after we poke it up in there two or three times, we are able to get to the outside."
The victory was the second in as many weeks for the Eagles (3-5, 1-1), who rushed for 350 yards on 33 carries on a soggy, muddy field.
Immanuel (1-7, 0-2) moved the ball in the first half only to have mistakes stall their drives. The Rams'' lone offensive highlight came on a screen pass to Michael Tate, who slipped through tackles and wormed 90 yards for a touchdown.
But Immanuel couldn''t get anything going in the second half. It rushed for -14 yards on 17 carries and missed on both of its pass attempts.
Tate led the Rams with 53 yards rushing on 25 carries. Justin James (one carry, 8 yards) was the only other player who rushed for more than 1 yard.
"We just had some mental errors," Immanuel Shawn Gates said. "We had some alignments that were wrong that we worked on this week. I don''t know if the players were jittery or too excited at the first part of the game, but we had some really great runs."
Pinnix, who wore face paint with senior offensive lineman Hearne Foster to celebrate senior night, said he likes the nickname "Thunder and Lightning." He hopes the Eagles can keep the momentum going in their final two regular-season games at Calhoun Academy and at Winona Christian.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.