Round 2 Recap
Round 2 of the 2022 high school football playoffs was certainly an interesting one. Not in terms of having upsets or having a lot of crazy matchups. But in the buildup to it and the way that the games ended up playing out. This week, the weather was a big uncertainty with the remnants of Hurricane Nicole set to move through Thursday and Friday. This led to many games being moved to Thursday and Saturday. Only one of the local teams was affected by that as Byrnes’ game with Blythewood was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon. Besides that, we had Chapman absolutely dominate a good Seneca team and Gaffney come out and play a dominant complete game like we have all known them to be capable of against a team that has been giving opposing offenses fits all season long. Everything else pretty much went as expected.
Let’s dive into what happened and the third round matchups.
Gaffney 42 JL Mann 7
As previously stated, the Indians dominated JL Mann. Granted, you cannot overlook this – against teams with strong offenses, they gave up 49, 48, and 41 points (42 in this game), giving up 104 combined in all their other games. With the tendency Gaffney has had this season to “play down” and get off to a slow start, one could not overlook the possibility that despite Gaffney being the much more talented team, they could struggle a bit.
Dan Jones and his team killed that potential narrative. The Indians fumbled the ball in their opening series of the game going for it on 4th down from the Mann 47 yard line. It didn’t end up hurting them, as their defense came up with a stop around midfield on the Patriots’ ensuing possession. Gaffney then went on a 4 minute 89 yard drive ending in a 6 yard touchdown run by Grayson Loftis. That TD would be the first of 5 unanswered TDs for the Indians.
Mann’s lone score came early in the 3rd quarter on a 5 yard TD run capping a 57 yard drive to open the 2nd half.
Gaffney’s offense was led by Grayson Loftis, who was 15 of 20 passing for 337 yards and 3 TDs as well as a rushing touchdown. Jamarcus Smith hauled in 6 of Loftis’ passes for 171 yards and 2 TDs. Chas Smith had 2 receptions – 1 for a 96 yard touchdown and the other for 17 yards. Quashon Tate also had a big night, with 129 yards on 11 carries with 2 touchdowns.
With the win, Dan Jones surpassed Bob Prevatte to become the winningest coach in Gaffney High School history with 120 wins, now holding a 120-45 record. He will look to add to that total with a big rematch of the regular season finale coming up this week in round 3. The Byrnes Rebels will visit the Reservation with a berth in the 5A upperstate championship game on the line.
Byrnes 27 Blythewood 24
Remember last week when I had to eat crow about picking Hillcrest over Byrnes and said I would never doubt them again? Still true.
The Rebels have continued their trends they have established over the last 3 weeks ever since they upset Gaffney to end the regular season. They play stifling defense, have 1 quarter where their offense is unstoppable, the opposition chips away and gets close or ties it, and then the Rebels “bring in the closer” (they find a way to win it, rather it be a big special teams play, a turnover, a clutch stop, or a late offensive drive). That was the case again at Blythewood Saturday afternoon.
The Bengals received the opening kickoff and managed a first down before stalling and being forced to punt. A high snap disrupted the timing on the punt, resulting in it being shanked out of bounds right at the 50. Blythewood would end up going 3 and out on 5 of their 7 possessions of the first half, with 1 turnover – an interception by Chamarryus Bomasr to end the half.
The Rebels were shut out in the 1st quarter, but were almost unstoppable in the 2nd quarter. On the 1st play of the quarter, Colby Shaw dumped the ball off to Knai Cook for a 12 yard TD. After forcing a 3 and out, on their 2nd drive of the quarter, the Rebels took a risk on 4th and 11 from the Blythewood 32. Shaw heaved it to the end zone where Dreson Evans made a nice bread basket catch with a defender riding his back for a TD. Byrnes added on with the first of two 42 yard fieldgoals of the game by Jacob Coman to make it 17-0, which would be the score at the half.
The Bengals changed things up in the 2nd half, switching quarterbacks in favor of Xavier Broadwater. He provided the spark that Blythewood needed. But, first their defense would need to make sure the Rebels did not add on with their opening drive of the 2nd half. Byrnes drove it all the way to the Blythewood 14, but that drive ended with a tip drill interception, setting them up at the 11. They drove 89 yards off that pick, scoring on a 20 yard TD pass to Traveze Benefield. Byrnes decided to get conservative on offense as we have seen them do over the last few weeks, with a steady dose of RJ Livingston and Kemren Prysock in the 2nd half trying to eat clock. It did not help them.
Blythewood’s defense forced a 3 and out on Byrnes’ first series of the 4th quarter, and their special teams came through in a big way, blocking the punt for a 20 yard TD to cut the Rebels’ lead to 3. The Rebels, needing an answer in the worst way, did it. Colby Shaw hit a wide open Armoni Weaver along the sideline for a 70 yard TD to make it a 10 point game again.
After the Bengals put together a drive to cut it back to 3, the Rebels made a big blunder on special teams that very well could have done them in if not for their defense. Anticipating an onside kick, the Rebels brought their kick coverage team up. The Bengal kicker instead booted it, with the kick landing inside the 10 yardline and rolling. The Rebels had a man come over and in the heat of the moment, touch the ball only to drop it. It was recovered by Blythewood at the 4. The Rebels’ defense managed to hold the Bengals to a game tying fieldgoal.
That set them up for “the closer”. Byrnes, with all 3 timeouts, managed to move the ball downfield and get into fieldgoal range with 7 seconds left in the game. Jacob Coman drilled a 42 yard go ahead fieldgoal to take the lead, an the Rebels’ defense managed to keep Blythewood from being able to try anything crazy on the final play of the game, needing a 68 yard play to win it on the last second.
Colby Shaw finished 12 of 22 through the air with 265 yards and 3 TDs. The Rebels had 4 different receivers log double digit yardage with Armoni Weaver leading the way – 4 snags for 126 yards and a TD. Knai Cook had 2 receiving TDs to go with his 44 yards on 2 catches. RJ Livingston was held to under 100 yards, tallyin 96 on 23 carries.
The Rebels, who are undoubtedly, despite struggling at points in games, are playing their best football and finding ways to win – will go to a hostile environment next week, as they go to Gaffney. Can they pull off the upset again and advance to the upperstate championship?
Spartanburg 39 TL Hanna 14
The Vikings are moving on thanks to a big night from Raheim Jeter, who was 15-21 passing with 202 yards and 2 touchdowns as well as 65 rushing yards on 7 carries with 2 TDs, including a 45 yard TD run.
The Viking defense was strong as well, led by Cam Smith, who logged 20 tackles, 1 for a loss, a fumble recovery, and 2 4th down stops.
Next week, Spartanburg is hitting the road for a rematch of week 1, where they went toe-to-toe with Dutch Fork, with that game ultimately being decided by a last second fieldgoal. With Raheim Jeter being fully healthy and playing well as well as the duo of KeKe Kelly and Drek Carter, can the Vikings limit the best player in the state – Jarvis Green, enough to flip their fortunes this time?
Dutch Fork 35 Dorman 18
Dorman got a much needed help this week as Dj Porter was able to play. His presence kept the Cavaliers from being shut out this week. Porter was 10 for 21 through the air with 83 yards and a TD. He also had 17 carries for 80 yards and 2 TDs. The ordinarily dominant Cavalier rushing attack was limited to just 150 yards, with Demarius Foster being held to 60 yards on 21 touches. Raequan Robinson was their leading receiver with 3 snags for 33 yards and the lone passing TD Porter threw.
Dorman failed to keep Jarvis Green and Aliam Appler from hurting them. Green ran for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns on 25 carries. Appler rushed for 86 yards with 2 TDs while also adding 102 passing yards.
The Cavaliers did manage to pull within 10 points after a pick and a TD. But aside from that, this game went as expected.
Chapman 57 Seneca 29
Chapman made a statement on Friday night with an absolutely dominant game against a good Seneca team. The Bobcats got the opening kickoff, but were held to a 3 and out. Chapman then established what their game plan was. They went on a long methodical drive where all they did was run the ball, getting it into the hands of their bigtime playmaker Mathai Scott. The 1-2 punch of him and Alvin Lewis was the story of both that drive and the game as a whole.
Mathai Scott ran for a record 253 yards and 2 TDs on 18 rushes. Alvin Lewis carried 17 times for 152 yards with 4 touchdowns.
Coleman Gray only threw the ball 1 time on their opening series, and after nearly being intercepted, it is when they went run heavy. On their final series of the 1st half, Gray completed 3 straight passes to cap a 5 play 74 yard drive ending in Gray’s lone TD pass to Mathai Scott for 17 yards. Gray did contribute with his legs, with 9 carries for 44 yards.
All in all, the Panthers offense logged 633 yards of total offense, with well over 400 on the ground.
Defensively, Abraham Fyffe, who has flown under the radar a bit this season, had his 3rd straight game with a big contribution. Fyffe had 4 solo tackles with 9 assists, including 4.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Reece Lynch tallied 9 solo tackles with 8 assists, including 2 tackles for a loss.
Next week, the Panthers, with their offensive identity established and their defense playing well, will travel down to Clinton for a big rematch this week for a berth in the upperstate title game.
Daniel 55 Woodruff 17
I don’t have much to go off of here, but realistically, I don’t think anyone expected this relatively young Woodruff team to be much of a match for Daniel, who is easily the upperstate title favorite and could also repeat as 3A state champions. Woodruff was down 27-0 before they finally found the endzone late in the 2nd quarter on a 3 yard run by Nemo Cochran. Logan Gaspar added a fieldgoal and Bryant Whiteside had a long TD run to account for the rest of their scoring.
Tip of the cap to Carson Tucker, who despite injuries and the covid season in 2020, has had a great long career as starting QB at Woodruff. It will definitely feel different not mentioning his name in these articles and on air next year..
That is a wrap on round 2. We have just 3 games in round 3 and we are guaranteed with Byrnes’ win yesterday to have at least 1 team advance to the upperstate championship in 5A, plus we still have a 3A team alive for the first time in several years. Good luck to all our teams in round 3!