Week One Recap
There are a couple of songs that come to mind that perfectly describe week 1 of the 2022 high school football season. “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by CCR, and the music they play while the contestants on ‘Jeopardy’ are poorly scribbling in their answers for Final Jeopardy. Last night was a long one full of lightning delays, torrential downpours, and lots and lots of standing around in the pressbox waiting for an announcement on if the game was happening or not.
Luckily, only one of our local games ended up getting called off last night. Gaffney at Union was down to the final 2:00 of the 1st quarter when the Heavens decided to open up, resulting in a decision to cancel the game and a declared no contest (I still have some info on that game and some takeaways I will share later). For everyone else, it was a late night.
Let’s dive in to what happened.
Game of the Week Presented by Phillips and Lawing Fuel of Chesnee
Broome 54 Chesnee 28
As fast as lightning, Broome jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in this one with a quick drive capped by a 52 yard passing TD from Kamajay Brackett-Brannon to Isiah Brown. This set the tone for an offensive battle.
Chesnee struggled to stop the pass attack in their week 0 loss to Blue Ridge. So, coming in, it seemed like it would be a good opportunity for Brackett-Brannon to continue to hone his arm and instill more confidence in his passing abilities, and boy did he.. Brackett Brannon ended the night with 368 passing yards and 2 passing TDs. That isn’t to say that Broome’s rushing attack wasn’t also strong.
Last week, Broome struggled with giving up big plays to Powdersville, that coupled with their slow start on offense, did them in. This week, Broome was the one putting up the big plays. Aside from the long TD pass on their opening possession, the Centurions also had a 63 yard TD run from Jaylin McGill, a 67 yard TD run from Brackett-Brannon, and a 60 yard passing TD to Zyon Wilkins.
That isn’t to say that Chesnee didn’t put up a fight. The Eagles actually took control of this game in the 1st half, responding to Broome’s TD to start the game with an 8 minute drive where they were able to establish a run game (true to their normal identity on offense) capped with a 10 yard TD run from Noah Lawter. Chesnee then took advantage of 2 key mistakes by the Centurions – a fumbled kickoff that led to an 8 yard TD run for KJ Proctor, a costly targeting call that set up a 2nd chance and a 13 yard TD run by Kyle Martin, and another fumble that led to a 14 yard scoop and score for Damarius McDowell.
The game flipped when Broome went on consecutive scoring drives leading up to the half in which they erased a 2 score deficit and a 3rd quarter where the Centurions scored 21 unanswered and went on to shut Chesnee out in the 2nd half to seal the win.
Dutch Fork 27 Spartanburg 25
Mark Hodge was famously quoted as saying that he wants to play Dutch Fork in non-region every year. Why not? No matter your opinion of them so far this season and despite the fact Gaffney beat them to snap their state championship streak last year, you cannot logically argue that the Silver Foxes are still the measuring stick for where your program is. They are the Alabama of high school football in the state of South Carolina – the ones setting the standard for where every other program aims to be.
Last night, Mark Hodge got just the positive measurement he was looking for as the Vikings hosted the Foxes in a wild and crazy ballgame.
Both teams struggled in the early going. Neither team cracked the scoreboard until around the 10 minute mark in the 2nd quarter when Dutch Fork capped a 6 play 71 yard drive with a 33 yard TD run from Jarvis Green where he took a direct snap from the wildcat and got the edge to go untouched to paydirt. That drive was set up by a gutsy fake punt, a pass that not only kept the drive alive, but went for a big gainer into Viking territory to the 42. The PAT was no good, making it 6-0.
The Vikings answered with a 2:00 65 yard drive after catching a break and getting a shorter field when the ensuing kickoff was pooched towards the sideline to set Spartanburg up at the 35. It culminated in a 22 yard TD pass from Raheim Jeter to Que Moore. The PAT was blocked, and that set the tone for the rest of the night on special teams. Both teams would end up chasing points, going for 2 from there out.
Things changed on Dutch Fork’s next drive as Aliam Appler, their starting QB, ended up having to exit the game after he fumbled a snap and went back to chase it on 3rd and long. He picked it up, but the Vikings rushed 5 and with 3 defenders in his face, he threw towards Jarvis Green at the sideline, a pass that was intercepted. He was injured when he was hit (but did walk off under his own power). From there, dutch Fork had to bring in their backup QB Landon Danley, who with his size is a running QB. The 1-2 punch of him and Jarvis Green proved to be difficult to stop as the Foxes managed to use read options and RPOs to go for big yardage.
The duo of Danley and Green combined for 372 rushing yards and 4 TDs (310 from Green alone, who had 163 yards with a pair of TDs at the half).
Despite their troubles stopping the run, the Vikings still managed to exchange blow for blow with the Silver Foxes all night long. In fact, Spartanburg was a stop away from winning this game. The Vikes managed to take a 25-24 lead with 4:44 to play in the game with an 8 play 73 yard drive that culminated with a 9 yd connection from Jeter to Andrew Dantin towards the sideline, who dove and just did manage to touch the pylon for the TD.
Dutch Fork answered by going right back to what you’d expect – running the ball and getting big chunk plays from Jarvis Green. They went on a 12 play 63 yard drive. It stalled at the Viking 12 yardline and ultimately, with just a couple of ticks left on the clock, Tom Knotts sent Justin Welch, the kicker who had struggled with PATs all night long, to try for a walkoff 29 yarder. He boomed it high and right down the middle.
As heartbreaking as it is for the Vikings to have been right on the cusp of upsetting Dutch Fork, there was plenty to be excited about besides the fact they managed to show they can hang with the best.
Freshman running back Keke Kelly once again demonstrated why he is the real deal last night, with several huge plays on which he was all but wrapped up and still managed to make either positive yardage or a big play out of it. Kelly logged 62 yards on the ground on 7 carries as well as 2 receptions for 36 yards and a TD. Andrew Dantin had 8 catches for 119 yards and a TD. Drek Carter had 18 touches for 83 yards and 4 snags for 29 yards and a TD.
Byrnes 54 Chapman 7
For the 2nd straight week, the Chapman Panthers offense struggled mightily. Coleman Gray did get the start this week for them at QB, but the Panthers managed to muster just 97 yards of total offense in the blowout.
Also, for the 2nd straight week, Byrnes absolutely dominated on both sides of the ball. All while still being down Mack Long and now their leading linebacker Miquel Dingle.
Here’s what not to do with that – read too much into it. Not to take anything away from Byrnes, but it came against yet another 3A team that looks to be in the midst of a rebuilding year.
On the flipside, if you are a Chapman fan, don’t panic. This is now 2 weeks in a row that you have faced an incredibly good defense. There is still time to turn things around and get the offense going with another struggling offensive team coming up this week in Boiling Springs that you can beat.
It was a slow start last night, the lone score of the 1st quarter coming on a 5 yard TD run by RJ Livingston. The Rebels added 2 more scores in the 2nd quarter on a 48 yard TD pass from Colby Shaw to Kyai Cook and a 3 yard TD run by senior running back Kamren Prysock.
The Panthers mustered their lone score of the game on a 23 yard connection from Coleman Gray to Mathai Scott with 3:11 to play in the 1st half.
The 2nd half was all Byrnes. Armoni Weaver returned a punt 45 yards for a TD and Shaw added 3 more passing TDs on a 27 yard strike to Kyai Cook, a 44 yarder to Elijah Barnes, and a 25 yarder to Chamarryus Bomar.
Shaw finished with a 50 percent completion percentage, going 11-22 for 231 yards to go along with the 4 passing TDs and a pair of picks. Backup QB Andrew Stevens added a 51 yard passing TD to junior wideout Ethan Morris. Tyleik Brooks and RJ Livingston combined for 143 yards and a TD on 16 carries. All in all, Byrnes accumulated 441 yards of total offense on just 50 plays.
Coleman Gray was just 7 of 13 for 34 yards to go with his passing TD while Chapman’s leading rusher Taylor Dunning had just 19 yards on 10 attempts.
Dorman 42 North Augusta 28
Last week, the story was about the Cavalier rushing attack led by Demarius Foster going off behind the strength of their offensive front. Last week, I said that Dorman needed to take advantage of that offensive line to use the run to open up a passing game so as to avoid being one dimensional. I think they listened..
This week, Dorman had more passing yards than rushing on the road at North Augusta, showing that they were able to find more of a balance. The Cavies had 226 yards through the air for 3 TDs with 198 rushing yards and 2 TDs.
Don’t let the score fool you. This one was not as close as it looks. The Cavs scored 28 unanswered after the Yellow Jackets tied it 7-7 in the final minutes of the 1st quarter. The Jackets went on to score twice in the 4th quarter to make it a 1 score game before Dorman added a garbage time TD to go back up by 2 scores.
Hudson Talley was 9 of 15 for 123 yards and a pair of TDs through the air. Demarius Foster was just awful, mustering just 84 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries (sarcasm…). The Cavaliers leading rusher was Kendell Lewis, who accrued 120 yards on 12 touches.
The Cavalier receiving attack was actually very balanced. Anthony O’Rourke, who also had a passing TD to open the scoring on the night for Dorman, hauled in 2 passes for 55 yards and a TD. Kendall Lewis led the team in receiving yards, but it all came on 1 play – an 84 yard TD reception for Dormn’s last score of the game. Raequan Robinson and Keenan Arcega-Whiteside also had a TD reception each. Robinson’s was a 55 yard snag from O’Rourke, while Arcega-Whiteside had a 13 yarder.
Gaffney at Union
No Contest, canceled with 2:05 to play in the 1st quarter with Gaffney up 7-6 due to weather and being a non-region game.
Gaffney had a disappointing start to their 2021 state title defense last week, getting trounced by a good South Pointe team 47-26. The Indians struggled to get going offensively in that game, with most of their first half possessions resulting in punts. They went down 23-0 before finally putting together a scoring drive, leading to trailing 23-6 at the half.
The Indians struggled stopping the run all night long, something that they also struggled with against Union for most of the bit of the game that was actually played. They also committed a lot of penalties against South Pointe, something they repeated last night against Union.
Yellow Jacket running back Cam Owens was averaging around 6 yards per carry, and when the Indians did have Union in a 3rd down situation where they could get the defense off the field, there was a costly penalty that aided Union. A facemask kept the first TD drive for the Jackets alive, which was capped by a 7 yard TD pass from Ben Black to MJ Porter. The drive that was going on before the lightning happened, Union got some help from a costly pass interference call. The Jackets had the ball at the Gaffney 30 when the game was suspended and ultimately canceled.
Of note – Gaffney senior receiver/running back Edward “Suga” Jefferies was injured against South Pointe last week and will miss 3 weeks after having surgery to repair a severely gruesome broken finger.
Mauldin 20 Boiling Springs 7
This is one of the most annoying cliches in football, but in this case, I will say it is actually true. The Bulldogs were shut out in their season opener last week on the road at TL Hanna. They still haven’t settled on a QB. Lots of problems reared their head last week.
This week, they were able to stave off getting blown out by a really good Mauldin team by actually moving the ball. After a 2 hour lightning delay and another brief delay when the lights’ automatic timer caused them to go off, the bulldogs managed to put together several drives, and even accumulated nearly 200 yards of total offense.
Javen Chhim led the rushing attack with 41 yards on 6 carries (the Bulldogs had 104 rushing yards on the night). Lincoln Huskey emerged as the leading passer, going 9 for 19 for 95 yards.
The Bulldogs scored their first points of the Matt Reel era on a 1 yard dive from Kam Williams, and had some momentum late, getting a pick from Jared Chinloy to set them up around midfield with just under 5 minutes to play in the game before a costly hold and inability to move the ball on that last drive resulted in a sack on 4th down.
Despite the loss, the Bulldog defense was solid. Luke Compton led the way with 7 tackles. Jojo Barrett logged 6.5 tackles. Jamelion Miller and Calvin Jackson combined for 4 tackles for a loss. And last, but certainly not least, they forced a couple of turnovers. Aside from the Chinloy pick, Kam Foster had a fumble recovery.
The hopes of the first win of the Matt Reel era are alive for the Dogs as they will take on a struggling Chapman next week. If their defense can turn in this kind of effort next week, it will take a lot of pressure off the 2 QBs and Kam Williams to perform, and could be a key to helping the Bulldogs get that first win, even if the offense still struggles. Honestly that is exactly what I expect – a low scoring slugfest that comes down to whoever capitalizes on the other’s mistakes more.
Hillcrest 62 Greer 14
I won’t go into too much detail here. Greer is now 0-2 after taking on a tough opponent on the road at Daniel last week and now taking their first ever loss to Hillcrest in blowout fashion at Dooley Field after having a nearly 2 hour delay.
The Rams set the tone early, scoring on the 2nd play of the game, when Bennett Judy connected with Avery McFadden on a slant that went for a 66 yard TD. Things snowballed from there. A Greer fumble set Hillcrest up deep in plus territory, leading to a TD pass from Judy to Adarin Mayberry. A turnover on downs on Greer’s ensuing possession set up another TD drive capped by a yard rushing TD by Thomas Stanley.
Greer finally broke onto the scoreboard with a 2 yard TD run from Ladainnian Martin halfway through the 2nd quarter. But, Hillcrest responded with 14 unanswered to go to the half up 35-7.
Greer mustered just one more score on the night – a 31 yard TD reception by Chase Byrd. In the end, Hillcrest made a statement with a record night. Bennett Judy broke a Hillcrest single game passing yard record he set last season with 456 while tying with Collin Sneed for most passing TDs in a single game with 6. Avery McFadden broke their single game receiving yards record with 241.
I won’t say that Greer is in big trouble yet – Hillcrest and Daniel in back to back weeks is a tough start. We will see how they do when they host their nearby rivals Blue Ridge this week.
Woodruff 31 Fountain Inn 0
Woodruff, after a big overtime win on the road last week against Chapman, traveled to take on the fledgeling Fountain Inn Fury. This is FIHS’ first season of varsity football, and to say they are a young team would likely be un understatement.
Fountain Inn’s varsity debut last week resulted in an ugly 9-6 loss to West Oak. No offense to the West Oak Warriors, but if you lose to them, especially in that low scoring of a game to open the season, you are probably not going to have a lot of fun on Friday nights.
After the weather delay, this game was decided to have a running clock and just a 1 minute halftime. That was a good call as Fountain Inn was just completely outmatched.
Woodruff’s opening drive ended in a fieldgoal. After a fumble set the Wolverines up deep inside Fury territory, Carson Tucker hit DJ Nash for a TD. Cam Nabors added a 29 yard TD run on Woodruff’s next possession. Another fumble led to another passing TD from Tucker to Easton Burch that made it 24-0 at the half.
Tucker finished the game 8 for 10 with 117 yards and 2 TDs in the quickie shutout.
Landrum 34 Berea 3
The Landrum Cardinals were the only team idle in our area during week 0 and hit the road to 4A Berea to open their 2022 campaign. And what a strong start it was..
As an option team, Landrum leans a lot on split backs and a lot of window dressing before handing it off to their playmaking running back Coltin Link. Seems that coupled with some good defense worked wonders for the Cards last night.
Berea drew first blood on their first possession, which ended in a 39 yard fieldgoal. That was all Landrum would give them. The Cardinals offense took over, possessing the ball for 33:26, logging 349 yards total offense – 311 of them on the ground. Colton Link rushed for 175 yards on 10 carries with a couple of long TDs of 72 and 55 yards as well as a short 9 yarder.
It wasn’t all Link though. Braden Mashtare ran for 88 yards on 8 carries. Aj Lindsay added a 4th rushing TD for the Cardinal offense late in the 4th quarter with a 2 yard run. 5 other Landrum ball carriers combined for 48 yards on 20 touches.
Cardinal QB Titus Poore went a perfect 3 for 3 for a whopping 38 yards with a TD (sarcasm again). The passing TD was a 23 yarder to Jack Clark.
That’s a wrap on week 1! Here is to hoping next week we won’t be dealing with weather, power outages, and midnight football. But, hey.. At least we did get all but 1 game in this week despite it a