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Boiling Springs

Week 9 Recap

We are well beyond being inside the home stretch of the 2022 high school football season. Next week is the final week of the regular season, and I think I speak for all of us when I say this… Where in the world did the last 2 and half months go? It’s almost time to resurrect the all-time greatest sports one-line cliche. I think you know which one I am referring to..

 

Anyway, last night, we had several games that at least had potential to at least determine a share of their respective regions if not crown an outright winner. Let’s dive into what happened.

 

Game of the Week

Gaffney 41 Dorman 29

 

Last night at the “New Reservation”, these 2 old rivals did battle with big implications. A Gaffney win meant the Indians would be the outright Region 2-5A champion. A Dorman win would have made for a 3 way tie at the top of the region with next week’s City Rivalry (Spartanburg vs Dorman, if you are unfamiliar) as the de facto region championship game.

 

The big story that broke just before this game was that Gaffney’s star Linebacker and Missouri commit Brayshawn Littlejohn was not going to play due to a minor knee injury from their game against Boiling Springs last week. That had many people scrambling to change their picks.

 

Spoiler alert.. Gaffney did not need him. It was evident fairly early on that it was going to be a tough night for Dorman.

 

Dorman won the toss and deferred. Gaffney stalled on their first drive and had to punt. That punt was an absolute thing of beauty, rolling and being downed inside the Dorman 1 yardline. Gaffney was unable to make any defensive points happen there, but they did flip the field. Dorman went 3 and out. Their punt was downed at the Dorman 38, but a block in the back pushed it back to the 48. It made little difference as either way, Gaffney was starting in plus territory.

 

The Indians drew first blood by capping the 48 yard drive on a 1 yard TD run on a direct snap to Edward “Shuga” Jefferies out of the wildcat. After forcing another Dorman 3 and out, the Indians once again drove it, this time 71 yards in 6 plays that ended in a 1 yard TD run by the very talented freshman running back Jaiden McDowell (we have a loaded class of freshman tailbacks in our area. That will be fun to watch these next 3 years!) to go up 14-0.

 

Dorman, desperate for a spark on offense, opted to sit Hudson Talley and go with DJ Porter at QB for the remainder of the game. The spark worked initially. Dorman finally got on the board on their first drive of the 2nd quarter. Gaffney’s 2nd punt of the night was returned to the Dorman 39 yardline, however, a horse collar tackle set them up in plus territory at the Indian 46. The next play, Dj Porter found a seam and took off for a 46 yard TD. The Cavs elected to go for 2, powering it in with the big guy DJ Geth to make it 14-8 midway through the 2nd quarter.

 

Gaffney answered with a 6 play 67 yard drive that ended in a beautiful 24 yard TD pass from Grayson Loftis to a wide open Drew Medley. The 2 point try would come up short, making for a 20-8 advantage for the Indians.

 

Dorman had a perfect chance to answer at the end of the half, but with the ball inside the Gaffney 3 yardline, they committed the first of their 2 costly fumbles deep in the red zone of the night. They set a man in motion when the snap came early and hit off of him. Gaffney fell on the ball at the 8 yardline to knee it out to half with a 20-8 lead.

 

Dorman finally found some momentum in the 3rd quarter. Their 2nd drive of the half, they marched 94 yards in 8 plays, including a huge conversion on 4th and 7, that was capped with a 14 yard TD run by Kendell Lewis to cut it to a 5 point game.

 

It turned into a back and forth for a bit with Dorman answering Gaffney’s drives with big plays. Honestly, that perfectly sums up the night offensively for Dorman. They tallied over 380 yards of total offense. It would seem they were moving the ball with ease. But, the truth is, most of that yardage came on big plays where DJ Porter found a hole with Gaffney’s blitzes, pulled the ball, and bounced either to the outside or just found a seam for big yardage. Otherwise, Gaffney’s defense absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage. They had 3 linebackers step up big in the absence of Brayshawn Littlejohn – senior Shrine Bowler Nathan Johnson, sophomore Clay Cook (who was the Indians’ leading tackler on the night), and sophomore Imari Boyd.

 

Eventually, Gaffney got back to their 3 and out forcing ways and managed to score 14 unanswered on offense to go back up 3 scores to all but seal it. Dorman had a shot in the Gaffney red zone late in the game that was taken away when DJ Porter fumbled a snap. The Cavaliers would muster just 1 more score in “garbage time” – a 44 yard run by Porter. The Indians recovered the ensuing onside kick to knee their way to the Region 2-5A crown.

 

Gaffney, led by the running back duo of Jaiden McDowell and Quashon Tate (both ran for over 150 yards. McDowell tallied 176 while Tate had 166. McDowell also had 3 TDs), will set their sights on another rivalry game next week.. Because, y’know… everyone’s rival. They wrap up the regular season at Byrnes while the Cavaliers will look ahead to the annual tussle with the Spartanburg Vikings.

 

Spartanburg 56 Boiling Springs 14

 

This game has lost the luster it had going in the years prior to 2020 due to the gap that Spartanburg has developed in where they are as a program vs where Boiling Springs is. Nonetheless, it was still one that had some buzz this year. We all know Boiling Springs is loaded with sophomores and is rebuilding under a new regime. We also all know that Boiling Springs has been a pleasant surprise this season, surpassing many’s expectations by winning a couple of games and actually hanging in there in many games this season thanks to a pleasantly good defense, including holding Gaffney to just 12 points on offense in a 19-7 loss last week.

 

This game meant a lot to the Bulldogs as it was another good measuring stick for just where the program is and how much progress they have made this season, an opportunity to try and play spoiler again to the region standings, as well as what could be the final game of their season.

 

The upset hopes and dreams looked like they were gonna be dashed fairly quickly in this one as the Vikings’ Jashad McLean took the opening kickoff back 93 yards for a TD. But, the Bulldogs were able to answer with a big play of their own as QB Lincoln Huskey (another one of those talented sophomores that has shown tremendous growth this season) took off for a big play, going for a 73 yard rushing TD on their 3rd snap of the game.

 

The Vikings answered with a long drive capped by a Raheim Jeter 4 yard TD rush to go up 14-7. But the Bulldogs still kept composure and had a chance to answer, driving all the way to the Spartanburg 10 yardline. The drive stalled there and they were forced to try a 27 fieldgoal that was blocked. From there, the Vikes pulled away, scoring 21 unanswered to take a 35-7 lead to the half.

 

Boiling Springs mustered just one more TD on a 45 yard pass from Huskey to Spencer Eison to make it 35-14 early in the 3rd quarter. From there the Vikings piled on 20 more to cruise to the win.

 

Huskey went 10 for 28 through the air with 137 yards and a TD while also being the Dogs’ leading rusher with 8 carries for 82 yards and a TD.  Raheim Jeter was 12 of 16 with 161 passing yards and 2 TDs and 7 rushes for 31 yards with a TD. The Vikings had 4 ball carriers log double digits and 4 with a rushing TD, led by Jashad McClean with 90 yards on 4 carries and a TD.

 

Boiling Springs wrapped up their first season of the Matt Reel era with a 2-8 record (0-4 in region), leaving little doubt that he is the right man for the job at BSHS. The signs are there. This team got better each week. This team gained invaluable experience each week. They are showing all the signs of trending in the right direction and they very well could be a contender within the next 2-3 years.

 

Spartanburg has unfinished business as they look to get their 2nd straight win over Dorman to lock up the 2 seed next week in the City Rivalry at Cavalier Stadium.

 

Greer 36 Wade Hampton 28

 

The Yellow Jackets have put together back to back wins for the first time this season to go to 3-6 overall, but better yet, 2-1 in region play to place them in a tie with Laurens for 2nd place. Laurens holds the head to head advantage, having beaten them 20-17 3 weeks ago, meaning Greer will be in the playoffs, but ultimately as the 3 seed since Laurens has wrapped up their regular season. Greer has one more region game to play with Riverside, who is the leader of the race in region 2-4A. An upset won’t do anything to improve playoff seeding, but it would do wonders to build confidence and momentum going into the playoffs for the Jackets.

 

Greer was led by the duo of running back LaDainnian Martin and Quarterback Josh Runion. They combined for 311 yards. Martin tallied 202 with 3 TDs while Runion accumulated 109 rushing yards. Runion also added 89 passing yards on a 50 % completion percentage (7 of 14) with a TD (a 47 yarder to Brock Diggins, the leading receiver with 52 yards on 2 receptions).

 

Chapman 64 Blue Ridge 34

 

We have been raving the last few weeks that the Panthers have found their identity and got their typical Chapman offense back. This week, they continued to give us reason to keep raving about it.

 

In a must-win game for the Panthers to set up a showdown for the region 2-3A title next week with Broome, Coleman Gray turned in one of his best passing performances of the season, going 13 for 22 with 236 yards and 4 TDs. The Panthers also turned in a heck of a performance on the ground with 4 different ball carriers scoring a TD and 6 rushers putting up double digit yardage.

 

Mathai Scott had 8 carries for 90 yards and a TD. Alvin Lewis had 4 touches for 79 yards with a TD. Gray added to his passing numbers with 7 rushes for 34 yards with a touchdown. Keanu Na put up 51 yards and a TD on 7 carries. Taylor Dunning and Devin Roe combined for 43 yards on 6 attempts.

 

Shawn Cunningham and Devin Roe led the Panthers’ aerial attack. Cunningham logged 136 yards on 5 snags with 3 scores. Roe added 74 yards on 5 catches with a TD.

 

All in all, the Panthers’ offense exploded for 550 total yards against a Blue Ridge team that has struggled defensively all season. With the Panthers getting hot at the right time, it made for a problematic matchup for the Tigers.

 

Now we await the matchup we have been hoping for since the schedules came out and the region alignments were finalized. Chapman will go to Royal Stadium next week at Broome with the region championship on the line.

 

Broome 48 Carolina 0

 

Broome dominated this game in all aspects. It is hard not to dominate a team like Carolina. Absolutely nothing against them, but Carolina Academy is a program that, while they have been around a while, they have not had much to cheer about when it comes to football. They are just not known for being a football school. They are, for lack of better descriptive terminology, a good homecoming matchup.

 

That said, even if your opponent is not very good, you still have to execute and you cannot overlook them or underestimate them. We saw that happen to an extent last week between Gaffney and Boiling Springs. It would have been easy for them to shrug this off, play with half the effort, walk out with a win, all while looking ahead to that showdown with Chapman next week. These type of things create “struggle wins” and trap games. But, that is not the type of coach Lynn Fleming is. He was not going to let that happen.

 

Instead, Broome did exactly as they were supposed to. The Centurion offense put up 368 yards of total offense. QB Kamajay Brackett-Brannon ran the ball 6 times for 100 yards with a TD while the other half of the dynamic duo – Jaylen McGill was limited to just 67 yards on 13 carries with a TD. The only other Centurion ball carrier to log a TD was Darren Crook with 3 rushes for 55 yards.

 

Brackett-Brannon also had some success through the air, going 4 of 9 for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Carlos Cohen was responsible for both of those TD receptions, as he logged 90 yards on them along with an 80 yard kickoff return TD.

 

The Centurions, now 3-0 in region (6-3 overall) will host Chapman next week, again with the region crown on the line to wrap up the regular season.

 

Emerald 44 Union 8

 

Union County, who started off the season with such promise, with a win over Newberry in week 0, competing with Gaffney before weather won out in week 1, and then beating Broome in week 3, saw the injury bug hit hard and completely derail the season. The Yellow Jackets were dominated once again last night by Emerald to fall to 2-7 overall and 0-3 in region 3-3A with just 1 more game to go on the road at Woodruff, and no chance of making the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets for most of the game were held to just a safety until they scored late.

 

For the sake of Union fans’ mental health and not having my family in Union hate me, I think I will just stop there with this game.

 

Landrum 21 Liberty 0

 

The Cardinals ran into a buzzsaw and then some last week with a shutout loss to Abbeville. For many teams, a lopsided loss with sole possession of first place on the line like that can be absolutely demoralizing. But, not for this determined bunch. Jason Farmer was not going to let that happen. Landrum got a good matchup for a rebound game and did exactly what they needed to in order to lock up the 2 seed out of region 1-2A  by answering a shutout by pitching one of their own.

 

In a week where these 2 schools were competing with each other off the field as well in a fundraising effort to help Blacksburg coach Jet Turner, who is battling cancer, with his medical expenses, the competition on the field was not very good.

 

These 2 run the ball a lot. In the words of Coach Farmer himself, this game was not going to be a game that lasts 2 and a half hours. This was going to be a game where we might be at Waffle House by 9:00.

 

That rung mostly true. In fact, you almost could have just copied and pasted the stats from last week at Abbeville. Landrum dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 43:39. They held the Red Devils to barely double digits in yards of total offense.

 

On the flipside, Titus Poore actually passed the ball. He went 5 of 8 with 93 yards. Andrew McPeters caught all 5 of those passes. Poore also ran the ball for 38 yards on 6 attempts.

 

The big 3 – Colton Link, Braden Mashtare, and Aj Lindsey combined for 122 rushing yards. Mashtare led the way with 51 yards. Lindsey logged 37 on 11 carries, and Colton Link, while only having 34 yards on 11 touches, scored all 3 Landrum touchdowns.

 

The Cardinals will go on the road to wrap up the regular season next week in Iron City as they take on the Blacksburg Wildcats.

 

Chesnee 27 NInety Six 26

 

That score would be confusing even with 96 spelled out for anybody not from South Carolina. 9626? 96-26? Anyway.. In the words of Lou Brown from “Major League II”, “That’s 2 in a row.. We win again tomorrow.. That’s called a winning streak.” That is the situation the Chesnee Eagles find themselves in now.

 

Chesnee, who like Greer has struggled to finish games all season, and has now put together consecutive wins for the first time this season, has put themselves in a position where they will not only be in the playoffs, but will have the chance to improve on that. Some may say that is still not ideal. But for a team that started 0-7, that is much more desirable than ending the season next week.

 

With Liberty’s loss to Landrum to drop to 1-3 in region and Chesnee beating 96 head to head to even them both at 2-2. The Eagles move into a tie for 3rd, with the tiebreaker. They also have a winnable game next week on the road with Liberty. Ninety-Six has to play Abbeville next week. Barring a crazy upset there, Chesnee could lock up the 3 seed outright next week.

 

This game came down to a missed fieldgoal as time expired that helped Chesnee hold on. But, let’s not downplay it. The Eagles still earned the win, having had to battle back from being down 20-7midway through the 2nd quarter and again from being down 26-21 late in the 3rd. I cannot help but think, knowing the situation it puts them in, that those young men are just as excited as could be.

 

KJ Proctor led the way for Chesnee with 12 rushes for 43 yards and 2 completions on 7 passing attempts for 10 yards. Austin Bigford tallied 38 rushing yards and 2 TDs on 7 carries. Kyle Martin and Hayden Webb combined for 63 yards on 9 touches. Nick Hofer added the only other offensive TD for the Eagles with 3 carries for 13 yards. Noah Lawter returned a kickoff 73 yards for a TD as well.

 

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