Week 7 Recap
The further we get into region play, things start to get more interesting. Not just because each game has high stakes. But because this is also the time of year where depth issues and injuries start to rear their heads and throw a wrench into the way games can go. Sometimes, we also see the opposite – players return from early season injuries and make an immediate impact. That is the nature of this brutal sport on every level, and we saw a bit of all of that happen this week in high school football.
Game of the Week presented by Kerneltime
Byrnes 30 Boiling Springs 7
The Game of the Week didn’t live up to the billing– if you are going by the score alone. In actuality, as has been the case so many times this season, and as has been one of the main positives aside from the 2 wins for Boiling Springs this season, the Bulldogs’ defense helped them stay in the game until their lack of offensive production wore the defense out to allow Byrnes to pull away. (I swear, I didn’t copy and paste that and change the opponent’s name haha).
As a matter of fact, they actually got a lot of offensive production this week in terms of moving the ball despite being down Kam Williams for the season. It was the fact they couldn’t come away with points that did the Bulldogs in. Boiling Springs turned the ball over several times, with a couple of those directly leading to points for the Rebels.
Both teams went scoreless until the final play of the 1st quarter when Byrnes backup QB Andrew Stevens connected with Kyai Cook for Cook’s lone TD of the game – a 63 yard reception. (No worries. Colby Shaw is not hurt, and did play. He finished the game 18 of 25 for 167 yards and a TD.)
In the 2nd quarter, Byrnes defense continued to pitch a shutout while Boiling Springs held the Rebels to a couple of Jacob Coman fieldgoals – both from 27 yards out.
The Dogs finally broke onto the scoreboard on their first possession of the 2nd half on a 42 yard TD pass from LIncoln Huskey to Zy Landrum to shave the Byrnes lead in half. But, the Rebels responded with 17 unanswered points to pull away.
Lincoln Huskey finished the night 20 for 30 with 227 yards, a pick, and a TD through the air, while also rushing 12 times for 17 yards. Zy Landrum led the aerial attack for the Dogs with 10 snags for 146 yards and the 1 TD. Javen Chhim led the Bulldogs in rushing with 57 yards on 15 attempts.
Byrnes had 5 receivers tally double digit yardage, but were led by Kyai Cook, who was limited to 93 yards, most of which came on his lone TD (the 62 yard TD reception). In the absence of RJ Livingston (injured), Kemren Prysock stepped up big, tallying 107 yards on 14 carries with a TD (he was also one of the receivers in double digits with 5 catches for 69 yards and a TD).
Byrnes, now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in region, has a big showdown with Dorman on the road next week while Boiling Springs (2-4, 0-2) will host Gaffney.
Gaffney 26 Spartanburg 20 (OT)
This is the prime example of a game where injuries plus recovering from injuries makes a difference. Gaffney’s star senior receiver Edward “Suga” Jefferies, who had suffered from a severed left ring fingertip against South Pointe, returned to the field last night after having initially been cleared for activity 2 weeks ago for their game against Fort Dorchester. He ended up being a key difference maker for the Indians in the win.
Jefferies hauled in 6 passes for 118 yards and 2 TDs, and ran for 23 yards on 5 carries with a TD.
Spartanburg, on the flipside, was down Cam Smith, their leading tackler, and star running back KeKe Kelly (no news on either at the moment). That should go without saying that is a massive blow for the Vikings. But not a fatal one as they have enough depth to be able to overcome that.
This game actually swung back and forth a couple of times. Spartanburg got the scoring started with a 36 yard fieldgoal from Will Love. Gaffney responded with scoring 12 unanswered, one on a 3 yard TD run on a direct snap to Suga Jefferies that capped a long 13 play 74 yard drive that took over 5 minutes off the clock, and the other on a 69 yard TD reception by Jefferies late in the 2nd quarter. After that 2nd TD, it seemed the momentum was swinging all the Indians’ way and they were going to pull away.
In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!” The Vikings took their first possession of the 2nd half and drove the ball 89 yards in 8 plays for a 1 yard TD rush on a QB keeper by Raheim Jeter. After the Viking defense forced Gaffney to punt on their ensuing possession, special teams stepped up and made a play (easy, Alex Smith…). Damylus Sarratt blocked it and Christian Roberts recovered it for a Viking touchdown to give them a 17-12 lead.
Spartanburg then made some big mistakes late in the 4th quarter when it looked like they were going to walk out with the win. On 4th and 5 from the Gaffney 6, the Vikings were called for a personal foul that set them all the way back to the Indians’ 21. Will Love then missed a 38 yard fieldgoal wide left that would have put the game on ice.
On Gaffney’s ensuing possession, a breakdown in coverage led to a 61 yard pass from Grayson Loftis to a wide open Drew Medley that set the Indians up deep in the red zone. Three plays later, Loftis connected with who else but Suga for a 13 yard TD. The 2 point conversion made it 20-17 Gaffney with a little under 2:00 to play.
Ultimately, this game ended up going to overtime after Will Love redeemed himself by nailing a game tying 41 yarder.
Spartanburg got the ball to start in overtime, but it could not have gone down any worse. Jeter was sacked for a loss on 9 on 1st down and then he threw a pick to Jayden Sims on the next play. That set the stage for Gaffney to walk it off on a 10 yard TD pass from Loftis to Jamarcus Smith.
So, what did we learn from this game? Nothing in particular. Gaffney showed they once again let their killer instincts kick in when they needed to late in the game, and they capitalized on each of Spartanburg’s mistakes. Aside from that, Gaffney’s front 7 on defense continued to be dominant. Spartanburg struggled with busted coverage plays and penalties, which have not been so problematic for them this season before. Basically, what we learned is that these 2 teams are gonna be in a Braves-Mets type chase for the region championship. Can Gaffney do the opposite of the Mets and hold on down the stretch? Chances are good. The Indians have found a stride just in time for region play, and they can definitely beat Dorman, Byrnes, and Boiling Springs to run the table.
Spartanburg can also win out from here as well. These 2 teams are almost dead even. Anything can happen. Even if Gaffney holds on to win the region (which I honestly believe will happen), they are likely to experience some deja vu from last year and meet in the playoffs – possibly for the upperstate championship. I personally cannot wait for that to happen.
Spartanburg will have their scheduled bye next week while Gaffney will go to Boiling Springs.
Dorman 13 Mauldin 12
On paper, Dorman should have won this game by a landslide. Too bad paper doesn’t win games. You have to execute. In Dorman’s defense, they were down DJ Porter. Also, kind of to their credit, they did what good teams do – when they face adversity, they find a way to win.
Dorman trailed 12-0 at the half. They pitched a shutout in the 2nd half while scoring 13 unanswered to pull out the win.
Hudson Talley was 13 for 19 passing with 193 yards with no TDs. Demarius Foster and Kendell Lewis combined for 113. Demarius Foster logged the Cavaliers’ lone TD on a 35 yard run that gave them the lead with around 6:00 to play in the game.
The immediate thought for most here is that Dorman may have been looking ahead to next week’s big matchup with Byrnes. I don’t know if that was truly the case. It is difficult to argue that when you struggled so hard with a team whose only win was against (no offense to them) Boiling Springs and a defense that has given up over 200 points all season.
One thing is for certain. Next week really will reveal a lot about who Dorman really is and could define Dustin Curtis’ first season in Roebuck.
Greer 55 Eastside 7
Things finally took a good turn for Greer last night. After a brutal non region schedule and a tough loss last week to Laurens where the Yellow Jackets led all game only to let it slip away, they needed a win in the worst way. They got a favorable matchup this week and took full advantage of it with an absolutely dominant effort.
The Jackets scored on each of their first 6 drives. Josh Runion was 14 for 19 with 294 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. The Jackets had 2 tailbacks go over 100 yards. LaDainnian Martin and Chris Hall combined for 253 rushing yards and 3 TDs. Chase Byrd, Brock Diggins, and Naheim Lee each tallied a TD a piece while combining for 181 receiving yards on 11 catches.
Greer will continue their favorable home stretch after their scheduled bye next week with Wade Hampton.
Broome 49 Blue Ridge 28
The story of the last few weeks for the Centurions has been their defense’s consistency. Over the last 2 weeks against Woodruff and Travelers Rest, they held them to 20 and 21 points respectively. They may have given up 28 to Blue Ridge last night, but the defense was still solid. They just kept making mistakes that kept them on the field in the first half.
Blue Ridge’s offense is very much run-based. They run 4 base plays. Zone read, halfback sweep, end around, and a deep pass. They have a speedy QB in Tucker Massey, a solid halfback in Bryson Wyatt and a receiver in Hayden Brown. Last night, their success mostly came when they ran the read option. Broome did a good job of swarming to the ball and limiting them to a few yards per carry. The problem is that Blue Ridge basically lined up to go for it on every 4th down, and in the first half, they got Landrum to jump on a hard count almost every time. The 2 times they didn’t, they did manage to convert it to keep drives alive.
In the 2nd half, Broome managed to shore that up, and the game swung after the Tigers turned it over on downs on their opening series of the 2nd half. Broome scored to go up a TD. Blue Ridge fumbled right around midfield on their next series after converting a 4th down, leading to another Centurion TD that basically put it away. From there, Broome didn’t concern themselves with tempo and used as much clock as possible between plays and scored on each of their final 2 drives.
That is not to say Blue Ridge didn’t have their chances to try and make it more respectable. Down 3 scores with a little over 5 minutes to play, the Tigers got the ball, but for some reason decided not to play with any urgency. They stuck to their offense and did not take any shots down field. They drove it into the red zone late, but Massey was picked off by Preston Thrift to seal it.
The real story in this game was Jaylen McGill. The freshman running back continued to show why Broome is going to be a fun team to watch for the next few years between him and Kamajay Brackett-Brannon. McGill ran for 251 yards and 5 touchdowns on 20 attempts. KBB added a 6th rushing TD for the Broome offense to go with his 93 yards on 9 carries.
Broome now sits comfortably in the catbird seat in region 3-3A with just Carolina and Chapman in the way. I don’t think there is much doubt that with the consistency on defense and the 2 headed monster they have on offense, the Centurions are the favorite to win the region.
Woodruff 35 Emerald 28
The Wolverines won last night missing a key player. QB Carson Tucker did not play (no word as to why). Kory Scott got the start for the Wolverines. He went 9 for 12 for 100 yards and a TD. Running back Eastin Burch carried the offense for Woodruff, with 19 rushing attempts for 153 yards and 4 TDs. Anthony Graybill led the way receiving with 2 catches for 42 yards and and a TD.
The Wolverines scored on 3 of their first 4 possessions while their defense forced 3 turnovers on downs. Ultimately, it was the last turnover on downs that sealed it as it gave Woodruff the ball to run out the clock.
Woodruff, now 4-4 overall and 1-1 in region has a tough test on the road at Clinton next week.
Chester 33 Union 14
Union County has significant injury problems. Quarterback Ben Black has a knee injury that has him out for the year. Their leading receiver, MJ Porter had to move to play quarterback. Their running back Cam Owens is also out with an injury. In essence, their offense is struggling to find much right now, and against a team like Chester, that doesn’t bode well.
Union got the ball to start the game and went nowhere but backwards. Then Chester went right down the field on their first series, striking on a 43 yard run on a halfback draw on 3rd down. Union turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing series, setting Chester up for a long 7 play drive to go up 2 scores.
The Cyclones put together 2 more long scoring drives, an 8 play 64 yarder capped with a 31 yard TD run and a 10 play 67 yarder to build up a 27-0 lead at the half. Union was held to just 12 yards of total offense in the 1st half.
The Jackets finally got on the board on a 34 yard TD run on a MJ Porter QB keeper that followed a successful fake punt in the 3rd quarter. But that would be all. They were just completely outmatched.
Things ease up for Union as they have their scheduled bye next week followed with Emerald in 2 weeks.
Landrum 45 Ninety-Six 31
In a crucial game that may have at least determined who will come in 2nd in region 1-2A, Landrum needed a big game on offense and a couple of stops to hold down a traditional power. That’s exactly what they got.
Things went the Cardinals’ way right from the get-go as Colton Link returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a TD. The Cards managed to build a 2 score advantage as Braden Mashtare, who was the story of the night for them, capped a roughly 5 minute 51 yard drive with a 3 yard TD run.
The Wildcats got on the board on the last play of the 1st quarter with a 1 yard TD run, but missed the extra point. Those 6 points would be all Landrum’s defense gave up until late in the 4th quarter, where 96 scored 19 unanswered.
Braden Mashtare mashed his way 125 yards on 8 carries with 4 touchdowns, and also had a TD reception of 16 yards. Let’s not forget Colton Link. The Missing Link tallied 96 yards on 12 carries. Ryan Bunleut forced a turnover for the 2nd straight week with a pick for the Cardinals.
Landrum is now set up for a chance to win the region next week as they will go on the road to take on Abbeville.
Speaking of Abbeville..
They shut out Chesnee 49-0 last night. I am sure our Chesnee friends would rather me not go on about it too much. So I won’t. The game went exactly as expected. The Eagles actually managed to help their case by moving the ball and leading the time of possession. KJ Proctor was 6 of 10 passing for 63 yards and he ran for 33 on 19 carries. Davian Stradford hauled in 4 passes for 46 yards to lead the Chesnee aerial attack.
The Eagles are still chasing a win this season, and will give it another try next week as they go to Blacksburg.