Week 0 Recap
As quickly as it seems it came, week zero of the 2022 high school football season is in the books (with the exception of Spartanburg and Gaffney, who both play tonight. Clary will have those recaps for y’all tomorrow). It certainly was one of the more interesting week zeros we have had as it marked the beginning of a couple of new eras for local teams and featured new beginnings for teams that had longtime starters and impact players graduate last year. So, without further ado, let’s dive right on in to what happened Friday night.
Game of the Week
Woodruff 13 Champan 7 (OT)
Chapman is one of those teams that had several impact players graduate last year such as QB Drew Settle and standout wide receivers DJ Black and Walt Waddell. The Panthers were supposed to see the beginning of a new era with Jr QB Coleman Gray stepping in to take over the reins of the offense for Settle last night, however due to a non-injury related issue, Gray would not play last night. Instead, sophomore Josiah Moore got the nod.
Woodruff was not one of those that will be in total rebuild mode despite losing all but 4 players on the offensive side of the ball with the return of senior QB Carson Tucker and wideouts Tae Goggins and Nemo Cochran. The strength of this relatively young team is the defense, with 7 players returning, and last night, that defense was showcased well.
In one of the biggest surprises of the week, the normally high-powered Chapman offense that we have grown accustomed to seeing these last few years was held to 184 yards of total offense and just 7 points. While you may wonder if those numbers would be higher if Gray had been the starter, I am going to go out on a limb and say they would not be much better if at all. This Woodruff defense is good. Not only that, but this game really could have been much uglier for the Panthers. Woodruff receivers dropped several TD passes in the game.
Woodruff’s defense, led by a great night from a name we might hear a lot this season – senior D tackle Zy Penson, held Chapman and Josiah Moore to just 82 passing yards and 102 yards on the ground. Moore was 14-24 with 1 TD and a pick. Junior receiver Rashawn Cunningham led the Panthers with 7 snags for 50 yards and a TD. Devin Roe, Colt McPeters, and junior RB Mathai Scott combined for 7 receptions for 32 yards. On the ground, Scott and fellow junior Keanu Na compiled a total of 32 carries for an average of just over 3 yards per carry.
I don’t have the stats for Woodruff, but the scoring summary is as follows. Nemo Cochran had a 21 yard TD rush to tie the game with 3:00 to play in the 1st half. Carson Tucker had what would be the game winning passing TD in overtime to junior receiver DJ Nash (a player Bradley Adams is very high on and says could be a breakout star this season).
Time to break out the Captain Obvious uniform again.. Don’t over react to the first game of the season. While Chapman’s offense looked like they may be taking a step back as many expected this season, you have to remember that they were up against a good defense and that they were down their starting QB. Add in that despite the loss, their defense looked good, and you had best believe that Chapman will be fine. They may not hang 50 points per game this season, but they will still be a very good football team and a favorite to be battling it out with Broome for the region.
Woodruff on the other hand, may actually have trouble this season on the offensive side of the ball if they cannot stay healthy. Last night, they were down to their 3rd string running back by the time they got to overtime. As stated earlier, they had 4 guys return on O. Even with a 3rd year starter at the helm, there is only so much he can do with so much youth around him. But we definitely did learn that the Wolverine defense is going to help keep them in games even when their offense is struggling.
Dorman 53 Greenville 28
The Cavaliers began the Dustin Curtis era in grand fashion with a big win over Greenville.
Dorman is touted to be a power running team this year behind the strength of senior running back Demarius Foster as well as their massive and talented offensive line that features South Carolina commit and #2 recruit in the state in Interior Lineman Markee Anderson, and senior UNC-commit tackle Dj Geth.
If I wanted to make a long story super short, that is exactly what happened last night for the Cavaliers. Demarius Foster ran for 306 yards and 3 TDs on 20 carries for an average of 15.3 yards per carry. In the 1st half alone, he had 149 rushing yards and a TD. That’s pretty good, right?
If you are inclined to say that anybody could run for numbers like that with a line like that, you might be partially right. But, that means you also have not seen Demarius Foster run. Foster is explosive. He is the type of running back that can beat you in short yardage situations, by getting the edge and breaking loose for big plays, and by just flat out overpowering you.
Foster isn’t the whole story, obviously (I am waiting for a call from hotels.com to be the new captain obvious any minute now…). Hudson Talley had a small degree of success passing the ball in the very few passing attempts they made. He put together a 50% completion percentage, going 5-10 for 125 yards with 2 TDs. Most of that came on 1 play as DJ Porter had a 74 yard TD reception in his lone catch of the game.
Greenville is breaking in a new QB after the graduation of standout Prometheus Franklin, who is now at SC State. Sophomore Jordan Sink assumed the helm for the Red Raiders and was actually solid in his regular season debut, going 24-34 for 252 yards and a pair of TDs. Greenville had a lot of success through the air as the backup QB added another 58 passing yards.
This game was actually fairly close for a while. At the half, the Cavaliers led 29-21. Dorman broke away in the 2nd half, outscoring Greenville 24-7 with 2 Foster TD rushes, a blocked punt for a TD, and a 28 yard fieldgoal from senior kicker Matthew Karben.
All in all, I still believe that though it will be tough to stop Dorman’s rushing attack with that offensive line of theirs, the Cavs will need to balance things out and pass the ball more so as to avoid being too one dimensional, something they have plenty of time to establish before we get to the meat of their schedule in region play.
Byrnes 62 Brookland-Cayce 7
The Byrnes Rebels broke in new QB Colby Shaw last night. Shaw is a senior and the son of head coach Reggie Shaw. Don’t let the “Coach’s kid” thing fool you. He has a very good arm, similar to Gabe Rogers, but can also scramble and make plays with his legs.
The biggest storyline of the game was the fact that senior RB Mack Long did not play. It is noteworthy that Long also did not get reps in preseason scrimmages. It is unknown at this time what the reason for that is – Long did suffer a season-ending injury against Dutch Fork last year in week 3. Instead, sophomore RJ Livingston, who is very capable, got the bulk of the preseason reps at RB1 as well as the start last night.
The Rebs faced a good 3A opponent to open their 2022 campaign in the Brookland-Cayce Bearcats, and well, frankly, it went about as well as you’d expect a 5A team playing a 3A team not named 2016-2019 Chapman to go.
Colby Shaw led the way in his regular season debut, going 17 for 25 passing with 318 yards and 4 TDs. Kyai Cook led the Rebels in receiving yards, hauling in 9 passes for 110 yards and 2 TDs. Dorman transfer Chamarryus Bomar had a couple of big plays, with 2 receptions for 85 yards and a TD. Adonis Edwards also had a 48 yard TD snag on his lone catch of the night.
Shockingly enough, this game was close at the half. Byrnes got off to a slow start. Couple that with a 9 minute scoring drive in the 2nd quarter by the Bearcats, and it made for a 14-7 game at the half.
No knee-jerk reactions, but Byrnes is a dangerous team with speed and size all over the field. Particularly in the skill positions and at linebacker. If Mack Long does end up playing this season, it will only make them that much scarier, and that makes Byrnes another dark horse that you cannot count out in region 2-5A.
TL Hanna 43 Boiling Springs 0
The Matt Reel era at Boiling Springs did not get off to an ideal start. The Bulldogs are in a tough spot right now where they have yet to settle on a QB with 2 sophomores alternating series in Lincoln Husky and Zy Landrum. They also don’t have a whole lot of size with the biggest guy on the team being a 6 foot 7 offensive tackle. They do have a talented running back in Kam Williams.
In short, Matt Reel is in for a tough rebuild. I think we all expected that the Bulldogs would be a mostly one dimensional team this season and that wins would be hard to come by.
They were completely outmatched by the Yellow Jackets Friday night, managing just 117 yards of total offense in the shutout. Zy Landrum led the passing “attack” with 11 yards on 4 completions.Spencer Eison led in receiving yards with just 8. Even Kam Williams couldn’t muster much, rushing for just 64 yards on 14 carries. The Dogs managed just 9 first downs and were penalized 7 times for 70 yards.
TL Hanna accrued 409 yards of total offense on the Bulldogs. 385 of those came running the ball.
Ok… I will stop tormenting you now Boiling Springs folks. Things are rough now, but I am confident that Matt Reel is the right man for the job. It is just a matter of enduring the growing pains. Literally. Within the next 5 years, he will have them to where they are worth more than 3 depressing paragraphs of stats.
Daniel 51 Greer 21
I do not have anything but stats to go on for Greer, but it goes without saying that Daniel is always a tough team to beat. They are a perennial power and they are always going to be especially tough to beat at home, and based on what I have seen of the Jackets in preseason, they should be fine going forward. They were just outmatched tonight.
Greer Sophomore QB Kaden Rowland had a strong night, going 17 of 28 passing for 138 yards and 2 TDs. He also ran the ball 12 times for 83 yards. Receiver Chase Byrd led the way with 13 snags for 124 yards and he hauled in both of Rowland’s TD passes.
Powdersville 47 Broome 23
Broome began a new era as Junior QB Kamajiay Brackett-Brannon assumed the helm of the offense after the graduation of Dylan Ramirez, who is now playing at North Greenville University.
All preseason long we had heard Lynn Fleming tell us about how much “different” Brackett-Brannon is in comparison to what we have seen from Ramirez. Coach was definitely spot on about that. Ramirez was known for his passing abilities more so than being a scrambler/running QB. I had seen Brackett-Brannon show flashes in the 2 scrimmages I saw this preseason. He is a lefty and occasionally has trouble throwing an accurate ball. That is honestly something you should expect from a 1st year starter. Still, every time I have seen him, he has gotten better and that is extremely encouraging if you are a Broome fan.
Last night, Broome continued what is seemingly becoming an annual tradition for them – opening the season with Powdersville. A very good Powdersville team at that.
The Centurions got off to a very slow start and dug themselves into a 19-0 hole over the first quarter and a half of the game. They did not help their case having turned the ball over on downs twice and giving up several big plays leaving receives open across the middle of the field.
In fact, the Centurions did not put together a scoring drive until midway through the 2nd qtr, which was set up by a big kickoff return by Carlos Cohen (who was seeing his first action of the season) and one of the biggest examples of Brackett-Brannon’s abilities of the night, a 20+ yard run on a scramble. Ultimately, that drive stalled at the Patriot 13 and they had to settle for a fieldgoal to make it 19-3.
Broome looked to be getting the momentum as they caught a couple of breaks on the Patriots’ ensuing possession. A would-be wide open TD pass and a perfect throw bounced off the receiver’s head. The next play, Va Tech commit running back Thomas Williams broke off a long run called back by a hold. On 3rd and long, Broome’s defense came up with a sack and got decent field position after the punt – only for Brackett Brannon’s lack of experience to come back to haunt him. He scrambled under pressure on 3rd and long and heaved up a long ball down the sideline to a waiting Powdersville cornerback who took off for what seemed like the dagger – an 88 yard pick 6.
But, Brackett-Brannon bounced back, responding with a long 60+ yard TD pass down the sideline to a wide open Zyon Wilkins that cut the deficit to 26-10 with :46 to play. Broome caught another big potential momentum shift when they got a huge interception to end what would have been another quick scoring drive for Powdersville right before the half and then kneed it out to half down just 2 scores.
The Centurions got the ball to start the 2ndf half and mustered 1 first down on the drive before stalling out and having to punt. The punt was not a good one, setting the Patriots up in plus territory, and that ended up being what flipped this game on its head. Powdersville hung 21 unanswered in the 3rd quarter and that would be more than enough to lock up a win.
There were some bright spots for Broome. Their defense did a fairly good job of containing Powdersville’s rushing attack, limiting Thomas Williams to just 1 TD. They also were able dial up good blitzes and get pressure on Powdersville QB Eli Hudgens. The unfortunate side effect of that was that they left the middle of the field open and gave up a lot of big plays on 3rd down and could not get off the field.
The biggest bright spot was Freshman running back Jaylin McGill, a name you had best be getting ready to hear a lot of. McGill is a speedster and he is very physical. He has all the pieces in place to be a superstar running back. Despite coming against Powedersville backups, he rushed for 2 TDs late in the game and carried the team on his back on those late drives.
All in all, this Broome team has a lot of growing pains to endure. It is not as bad as Boiling Springs. They have their QB, and in all honesty, Brackett-Brannon looked the best passing the ball I have seen him last night. As the season goes along and he keeps getting better and building his confidence, Broome will only get better. I still look for them to be battling with Chapman at the top of the region, and they will be extremely dangerous next year with an experienced senior Brackett-Brannon.
Union County 30 Newberry 14
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night is that Union went down to Newberry, a place they struggle historically, especially when Tyler Shugart is in attendance, and beat the Bulldogs.
Yellow Jacket QB Ben Black had a good start to the season, with 2 passing TDs totaling 115 yards combined – a long 93 yard catch and run by MJ Porter and a 22 yard pass to Will Turner (not to be confused with Orlando Bloom in Pirates..). Porter led the receiving corps with 124 yards on 6 catches, including the long TD. Cam Owens was also fantastic out of the backfield for Union, tallying 151 yards and 2 TDs on 24 carries.
Captain Obvious is about to Captain Obvious again. Don’t read too much into week zero. I don’t know much about Newberry other than that they have a new head coach – Cedrick Jeter, who was promoted from defensive coordinator from within after Phil Strickland retired after last season. I do know that Union seems to have just the 2 big weapons on offense in Porter and Owens. It will be interesting to see as the season goes on whether or not this Union County team might be a surprise or if last night was just a rare gem against a rebuilding team.
Blue Ridge 42 Chesnee 37
The Chesnee Eagles enter the 2022 campaign with a sense of optimism. They return a lot of their roster, including 7 starters on each side of the ball. They have a talented young QB returning in sophomore KJ Proctor. 4 of their 7 returners on offense are on the line, which bodes well for a team whose identity is built on a foundation of a solid rushing game.
Last night on the road at Blue Ridge, the Eagles offense did have a strong night. They traded blows with the Tigers for much of the first half, but found themselves down 28-17 at the half. Then, Chesnee put together an incredible 3rd quarter, holding Blue Ridge scoreless and pulling back to within 4 with a long 8 play drive in which the Eagles were able to establish the run. They ran 7 of the 8 plays in that drive that was capped with a 21 yard TD pass to Adonis Burgess. The ensuing possession for Blue Ridge, Noah Lawter came up with a huge interception for the Eagles, which set the stage for Adonis Burgess to bust off a 64 yard TD run to take the lead the next play.
The difference in the game was the 4th quarter, Chesnee turned it over twice, once when they were inside the BR 10 yardline looking to extend the lead. Blue Ridge capitalized on that one with a long TD drive capped by a 6 yd TD rush to reclaim the lead that they would not relinquish. Chesnee, needing to respond, fumbled the ball again on their ensuing possession. The Tigers once again capitalized with a scoring drive capped with a Tucker Massey 3 yard TD run.
The Eagles didn’t give up, with a late TD drive capped with an 11 yard TD pass from Proctor to who else but Adonis Burgess to get back within a score. But it was not meant to be as Blue Ridge recovered the onside kick to seal it.
Proctor passed for 190 yards on 12 completions with 4 TDs while also rushing for 53. Adonis Burgess tallied 143 rushing yards and a TD on the ground to add to his 2 receiving TDs that combined for 32 yards. Kyle Martin also had 63 receiving yards and a TD for Chesnee.
Here is the takeaway for me – Clay Lewis was super giddy about the potential of KJ Proctor to have a breakout season when I interviewed him this Summer for my Chesnee preview. With that kind of stat line in his first start as a sophomore, it is definitely believable. The duo of him and Adonis Burgess will be a fun one to watch as the season rolls along and I look for Chesnee to make some noise in 2022. They will need to shore up the turnovers and their passing defense will need some help (it was a weak point for them last year as well), but they have potential to be a really fun team to watch as the season heats up.
That will do for the first edition of the Saturday Recap of 2022! Good luck to Spartanburg and Gaffney as they open up with Langston Hughes (Georgia) and South Pointe. Bring on week 1 (or 2.. Is week zero really an appropriate name anymore?)!