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Week 9 Recap

Did someone invent time travel and not tell anybody? I could swear it was week 0 yesterday.. Now, somehow the playoffs are 2 weeks away. Shock factor at the speed of the season aside, this week could be summed up in 2 words.. Nitty Gritty. We saw 3 regions in our area be decided. We also saw a couple of games come down to the nitty gritty. For several of our local teams, the season is coming down to the nitty gritty to determine their playoff seeding. It was a lot of action. So, let’s start by recapping our region champions first. 


Chapman 38 Union 35 

Chapman: Region 3-3A champions


In my personal experiences having grown up watching Union football games when my brother played there, strange things have been known to happen at Union County Stadium when the county fair is going on. Last night was no exception. 


We had a beat up and struggling Union County team that has not won a game all season that needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive going up against one of the most prolific offensive teams in the upstate. Expectation was that Chapman would be aggressive as usual and score early and often, having little to no trouble winning this one. But, that expectation was shattered as the Yellow Jackets ended up playing their best game all season. 


Union drew first blood as they went right down the field and Ja’Bryson Hunter hit Desmond Herbert for a 4 yard TD. The Jackets would go right back down the field after their defense came up with a stop, taking a 14-0 lead on a 16 yard TD pass from Hunter to MJ Porter Jr with 4:13 to play in the 1st. 


Chapman finally broke the goose egg with a 7 yard TD run by Derrick Miller with 1:21 to go in the 1st. After forcing a 3 and out, Miller struck again with an 8 yard rush for a TD to tie the game with 11:01 to play in the 1st half. Union then responded with a long drive that took all but 47 seconds off the clock, capped with an 8 yard TD pass from Ja’Bryson to Kevon Hughes that gave the Jackets a 21-14 halftime lead. 


Chapman wasted no time in going right down the field to start the 2nd half, tying the game back up on a 5 yard QB keeper by Drew Settle. Union, on the other hand, just like in the 2nd quarter, played ball control and went on an 8 minute drive to re-take the lead on a Hunter’s 4th touchdown pass of the night — a 35 yard strike to Dez Herbert. 


The 4th quarter saw Drew Settle throw a TD pass to Tim McClurkin and run for another. It also saw Ja’Bryson Hunter show his skills as a defensive back, as he picked Settle off and returned it 65 yards for a pick 6. Union County drive down the field in the waning seconds of regulation with a chance to win it with a fieldgoal. But, a bad snap caused it to be missed, and this one went to overtime. 


Union received the ball first in the overtime period, and once again had a chance to take the lead with a fieldgoal, but once again missed it, which set the stage for Ricky Montalvo to hit the game winner for the Panthers. I don’t think it takes Captain Obvious telling you he didn’t miss. Montalvo booted the Panthers to the region 3-3A crown on a fun night in Union. 


The Panthers have one more region game to finish out the regular season next week as they host the Broome Centurions. The Yellow Jackets, who are now going to miss the playoffs, will look to pick up a win to build on for next year (and I fully believe they will get it) as they play host to the Emerald Vikings. 


Gaffney 21 Clover 3

Gaffney: Region 3-5A champions


What has been the one thing we have constantly praised and touted as the strength of this Gaffney football team? The defense. Last night, their strong defense is exactly what won them the region title on the road. On a night where their offense was almost non-existent, and statistically, they were outplayed by Clover, who amassed 295 yards of total offense with 16 first downs while also dominating the time of possession (had the ball for 33:20), they forced 4 turnovers. Two of them were turnovers on downs, and the other 2 included a pick 6 from Eddie Tate-McDowell and another interception by Landon Bullock. They also forced Clover to punt 5 times. 


That is not to say the Indians offense did nothing last night. Tyler Smith accounted for Gaffney’s other 2 TDs with a 51 yard receiving score and a 58 yard rush. 


Gaffney is still undefeated on the season and will likely finish the regular season that way as Fort Mill comes to the Reservation next week. 


*The other region championship claimed last night was Region 2-4A, where Greenwood beat Greenville 30-29. This settles the 1 and 2 seeds for them. Greer currently sits 4th in the region, in the playoffs regardless of what happens next week.*


Woodruff 49 Broome 42


In our Spartanburg Nutrition Game of the Week, Woodruff hit the road to take on Broome. It was expected that in a battle of 2 of the best QBs in our area – Carson Tucker and Dylan Ramirez, the scoreboard operator would be earning their pay. That ended up being true, but not in the way you’d think.. You think back and forth all game with over 40 combined points before the end of the 1st quarter. Instead, it got off to quite a slow start. 


The start couldn’t have been better for the Centurions as they received the opening kickoff and returned it to midfield (there were a lot of big kickoff returns from both teams in the 1st half. Enough of a special teams impact to make Alex Smith giddy as a schoolgirl. hahaha). Ramirez and company drove all the way down to the Wolverine 5 yard line before the drive stalled. On 4th and goal from the 5, Lynn Fleming opted to take an early gamble and go for it. They failed to convert and Woodruff took over at their own 5. 

Things almost went sour for the Wolverines immediately, as Carson Tucker fumbled the snap on their first play and had to chase it to the back of the endzone. He somehow picked it up and avoided a safety, scrambled and found a receiver open that ended up going for a 60 plus yard gain. The Wolverines ended up capping the 95 yard drive (which was the longest either team had to go in the 1st half) with a 6 yard TD pass from Tucker to Nemo Cochran with 2:42 to play in the 1st. 


Broome answered with a quick 6 play drive that was set up by a 30+ yard kickoff return. Ramirez connected with Carlos Cohen for a 15 yard TD to tie it up ay 7 with :50 to play in the 1st. 


This game would never be a shootout. Rather, Woodruff actually jumped out to a 2 score lead after back to back short drives capped with 5 yard TD runs by Demarian Elmore, who finished the night with 4 rushing TDs and 205 yards on the ground. Broome wouldn’t find the endzone again until Ramirez found Cam Moore for an 18 yard TD pass with 3:26 to play in the half (PAT was blocked) to cut the deficit to 21-13. 


Now, let’s fast forward to the final seconds of the half, where Broome very nearly made it a 1 score game. On 4th & 10 from the Woodruff 40, Dylan Ramirez escaped a 4 man rush and found Cam Moore wide open down the sideline, who took off and got drug down from behind at the 1. Three plays later, Broome attempted to run a shallow slant in the middle of the end zone. A Woodruff defender managed to jump in front of it and picked Ramirez’s pass and took a knee for a touchback.


Woodruff controlled the 3rd quarter, jumping ahead to a 3 TD lead. Broome looked to be tired (after all many of their star players do play both ways) and down for the count. But, they showed a lot of heart and grit in the 4th quarter. 


Broome started a rally, driving the ball in much the same fashion both teams had been all night – with chunk plays, bubble screens, zone reads, and the occasional long ball. Ramirez hit Cam Moore for a 10 yard TD pass with 7:00 to play in the game to cut the Woodruff lead to 49-35. Then, the Centurions rolled the dice and kicked an onside kick that just grazed a Woodruff player and ended up being recovered right at midfield. Ramirez drove it 51 yards in a couple of minutes, capping it off on a 10 yard TD run off a zone read to make it a 1 score game. 


Fleming didn’t push his luck again in trying another onside kick, instead kicking it deep and trusting his defense to get a big stop. That is exactly what happened as the Centurions forced a turnover on downs. They took over with 3:00 to play in the game at their own 35. Ramirez managed to get down to the Woodruff 31 before stalling. It set the stage for what originally looked to be a game-sealing 4th down try on 4th and 5. Ramirez ended up getting sacked. Woodruff took over at their 34. 


Broome had a shot to stop them again, as they forced the Wolverines into a 4th down situation. Carson Tucker handed it off to Demarian Elmore who managed to get to the edge & take off down the sideline for a 65 yard gain. From there, Tucker knee’d it out and the Wolverines held on for the 49-42 win. 


Broome is now sitting in a tie for 4th in 3-3A with Emerald, who beat them head-to-head. They go to take on the region champion Chapman Panthers next week. Woodruff hosts Clinton next week, and a win would set the Wolverines up with the 2 seed. A loss and they’ll be locked in as the 3. 


TL Hanna 28 Byrnes 22


This was one of the other more anticipated matchups this week. TL Hanna was undefeated, finding a lot of success with their option offense coming in, while Byrnes was riding high fresh off a huge upset of Dorman last week. The Rebels couldn’t have gotten off to a better start as Gabe Rogers hit Elijah Barnes for a 21 yard TD with 10:42 to play in the 1st. But, things went sour for them as they would not score again in the 1st half. The Rebels trailed 14-7 at the half. 


Let’s skip the 3rd quarter, since it really had no impact on the game. TL Hanna was up 21-7 going to the 4th. 


Kanai Cook had a 4th quarter to remember, scoring 2 TDs, one rushing and 1 receiving. With 6:26 to play in the game, he scored on a 9 yard rush. Gabe Rogers hit him from 11 yards out, and then Byrnes took the lead after Thomas Gregory hit Colin Imhoff for the 2 point conversion with 2:40 to play. 


But, unfortunately for the Rebels, TL Hanna would go right down the field to take a 28-22 lead with 14 ticks to play in the game to remain undefeated. The Rebels wrap up region 2-5A play and the regular season with a short road trip to Wade Hampton. They are currently tied for 2nd in the region with Dorman. I would like to tell you where they could end up, but I will leave that to Clary.. My head hurts just thinking about the tiebreaker scenario. 


Dorman 54 Wade Hampton 27


I won’t spend a whole lot of time on this one. No offense to Wade Hampton, but they just are not a very good team this year. Dorman did exactly what you’d expect them to do, and they rebounded very nicely from the tough loss on the road at Byrnes last week. 


Dorman tallied 442 yards of total offense, and as expected, they were able to run the ball with ease. They had 377 rushing yards with 7 TDs. The Cavaliers had 6 different running backs go for double digit yards and 5 different backs score TDs on the game. Enahjay Fowler and Will Black combined for 4 rushing TDs and over 160 yards on 17 carries. 


Dorman finds themselves in the midst of the crazy tiebreaker scenario in region 2-5A. The Cavs have a good chance of helping their case by beating Spartanburg in the much-anticipated City Rivalry next week.


Boiling Springs 36 Fort Mill 22


Not to toot my own horn, but a month ago, I stood firm in my belief that Boiling Springs would win a game this season, and most likely against Fort Mill. So, I am now taking on new clients for my fledgling psychic career. Ok.. totally kidding. But, in all seriousness, I have to give major props to this Boiling Springs team. We have been saying the same thing about them all year.


“They’re young.” “They’re small/undersized.” “They have a lot of room for growth.” “They just need to avoid injuries and improve each week so they can build for next year.” 


Over the last few weeks, we have seen a steady improvement from this team and after coming close to a breakthrough last week against Clover, I was ever confident they would be able to pull it off against a Fort Mill team that has also struggled mightily all year. If your first thought is “Well they beat a bad team and won’t go far in the playoffs”, thanks Cap’n Obvious. But, this win means a lot to these young men and they are feeling on top of the world right now. They earned it and deserve a moment to enjoy it given all they have gone through this season. They also made the playoffs so they get an extra game for a chance to build for next season. Congratulations, Bulldogs!


Now that I have spoken my mind, I honestly  don’t know much about how this game went down, but I do know that Boiling Springs running back Kam Williams put up a performance worthy of player of the week consideration, toting the rock 23 times for 246 yards and 3 TDs. 


Boiling Springs wraps up the regular season with a home game against Greenwood next week, and are locked in as the 4 seed from region 3-5A. 


Spartanburg 35 Riverside 7


Again, I don’t know how this one went down. I don;t even have stats. But, as I have stated several times now, this is not the Riverside we have seen historically (they won 6 games and are actually locked in as the 4 seed in the playoffs). The Vikings outmatched them, but they were not necessarily going to hang 40 plus on them. I am curious to know whether or not Mark Hodge opened the playbook up and let Raheim Jeter run the ball some. This game was a great opportunity to tune up some ahead of the region championship game next week in the City Rivalry. No matter what they did in this game, the Vikes took care of business and kept themselves on top of the region. 


Greer 41 Eastside 14


Another game where the favorite did exactly as expected. Although it took until the 2nd half for the Yellow Jackets to pull away. 


Greer jumped out to a 2 score lead with a pair of rushing TDs from LaDanian Martin – one from 4 yards out and another from 3. The Jackets led 13-0 with 3:40 to play in the 1st. Eastside struck back with back to back scoring drives of their own, taking a 14-13 lead on a pair of passing TDs, one for 22 yards from QB Cutter Woods to Roy Price and the other on a 26 yard connection from Woods to Devery Cagle. The Eagles would take that  14-13 lead to the half. 


Greer turned it on in the 2nd half, scoring the last 27 points of the game. Hollis Crosby had 3 TD passes in the 2nd half, 2 to Peyton Diggins and the other to Malakhi Saunders. Ladainian Martin ran for 2 more TDs en route to the convincing 41-14 win. 


Greer wraps up their region schedule with Laurens next week. Laurens is ahead of Greer in the standings right now, but they have only played 1 region game due to Covid. If Greer beats them next week, they might end up 3rd in the region. Either way, the Jackets are in the playoffs. 


Chesnee 34 Blacksburg 14


Another thing I have said all season is that Chesnee was going to find their stride and go on a win streak at just the right time this season. My psychic powers just kept telling me they would.. ok maybe it was just a good guess based on seeing this team and from writing about them every week.. 


Anyway, Chesnee just won their 2nd in a row last night. They also faced a Blacksburg team that runs a similar scheme to them, just like last week when the Eagles faced (and upset) Landrum. Unlike last week, Chesnee didn’t have to stage a dramatic 4th quarter comeback or hit a last second fieldgoal. They were on top of things from square one. 


Landon Thompson started this game at QB for Chesnee, and was solid with 3 TD passes and just shy of 100 passing yards. He hit KJ Valentine for a 29 yard TD on their first drive of the game and again in the 3rd quarter for a 48 yard TD. He also had an 11 yard TD pass to Adonis Burgess, who was a key contributor for the Eagles dominant rush attack last night, with a career high 124 yards and a rushing TD. 


Chesnee’s offense amassed 342 yards of total offense, with 245 of them coming via the run game. This was an offensive breakout game that the Eagles needed at just the right time. Now that they have found a stride and won a couple of region games, they have put themselves in position for a possible 3 way tie for region 2-2A, depending on what Landrum does at St. Joe’s next week. Chesnee takes on Mid Carolina next week to wrap up the regular season in a non region contest.


Legion Collegiate 24 Landrum 21


After the heartbreaking last second loss to Chesnee last week, Landrum needed to rebound this week and they had a favorable matchup for it, taking a break from region 2-2A play to face Legion, who has struggled this season after transitioning to playing private school ball in North Carolina. 


Unfortunately, Landrum did not bounce back very well, as they played a somewhat sloppy game. The Cards took an early 7-0 lead when Jesse Bowers punched it in from 3 yards out with 8:15 to play in the 1st. That would be the only score in the first quarter.. 


Legion tied it with a 46 yard punt return TD early in the 2nd quarter, setting the stage for a see-saw game the rest of the way. Legion took the lead on a 74 yard scoop n score with 3:04 to play in the 1st half and led 14-7 at the half. 


Landrum tied it at 14 after Beckett Driggers picked off a pass and went 29 yards to set up a 16 yard passing TD from Titus Poore to Grayson Foster with 8:00 to play in the 3rd. Then, Legion went on a long TD drive to reclaim the lead where they kept Landrum’s defense on the field for nearly 7 and a half minutes. Through 3, the Lancers led 21-14. 


After Legion tacked on a fieldgoal to make it a 10 point game midway through the 4th, Landrum went on a 5:00 drive capped by a 4 yard TD rush from Colton Link to bring them back within 3. The Cardinals needed an onside kick to have a shot to win this one, but they could not come up with it. The Lancers held on to deal Landrum a second consecutive tough loss. 


The good news for Landrum is that this won’t hurt their region hopes since this was a non region game. However, to force a possible tie for the region next week, Landrum will have to put these last 2 weeks behind them and go execute well on the road as they will travel to take on the Knights of St. Joe’s Catholic to wrap up the regular season. 


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