Week Zero Recap
The 2023 High School Football season has arrived! All but 2 of our local squads were playing their first real games of the season last night as Landrum was off and will play 10 straight weeks and Byrnes takes on Hough High School on Saturday night up in Charlotte.
Let’s start with the Game of the Week.
Chapman 57 Woodruff 34
This game had a lot of intrigue behind it for several reasons. Number 1 was the Woodruff debut for new head coach and Chapman alum Brett Sloan. Number 2 was the anticipation of seeing just how the Wolverines would match up against a Chapman offense that is poised to consistently terrorize defenses this season with the weapons they have returning.
Chapman jumped ahead quickly, marching 64 yards on the game’s opening series to score on a 7 yard TD run by QB Coleman Gray. After forcing a 3 and out on Woodruff’s first series, Chapman struck again and in lightning-fast fashion. Gray connected with a wide open Colt McPeters down the sideline for a 47 yard gain and punched it in 2 plays later on a 1 yard dive by Mathai Scott.
Down 14-0 early, it would have been easy for the Wolverines to pack it in, but that simplay was not the case. Woodruff responded brilliantly, scoring on each of their next 2 series while holding Chapman scoreless in between. On the first scoring drive, Woodruff Junior QB TJ Morris connected with Kory Scott from 7 yards out, and later converted the 2 point try to cut the deficit to 14-8. Their next series, Running Back Tre Rodgers dove in from a yard out to give the Wolverines the 15-14 lead.
That lead was short-lived as Chapman responded with an 8 yard Coleman Gray QB Keeper for his 2nd of 3 rushing TDs on the night.
One of the issues that reared its head for the Panthers was kickoff coverage, and it led to Woodruff striking right back. The ensuing kick was returned 53 yards to the Chapman 1 yard line, setting up a 1 yard Tre Rodgers TD to tie the game at 22.
The Panthers saw themselves back up 2nd and 35 at one point their next series, but managed to overcome it, scoring on a 5 yard dogpile-moving run by Mathai Scott to give Chapman an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish the remainder of the way.
The 2 sides continued to trade blows until Chapman’s defense helped seal the deal late on a Hudson Moss interception that set up a 5 yard Keanu Na TD rush, and a Bennett Smith pick 6.
Coleman Gray led the way for Chapman, going 12 of 16 for 206 yards and a pick with 15 carries for 90 yards and 3 TDs. Mathai Scott and Keanu Na combined for 4 TDs on 28 carries for 131 yards. Shawn Cunningham hauled in 9 passes for 127 yards.
Woodruff was led by TJ Morris, who was 24/40 for 268 yards and 3 TDs with 2 picks. Tre Rodgers led the ground game with 17 carries for 57 yards and 2 TDs. Kory Scott had 9 receptions for 127 yards and 2 TDs.
Chapman will take on the Byrnes Rebels for their home opener next week while the Wolverines host the Fountain Inn Fury, who picked up their first varsity win last night.
South Pointe 16 Spartanburg 14
TJ Johnson’s time as starting QB at Spartanburg did not get off to the most ideal of starts. The Vikings lost a lot from a year ago on the offensive side of the ball. Ra’Keith Kelly has transferred out of state after a phenomenal freshman season. They also had to replace RB Drek Carter, WR Andrew Dantin, and WR Que Moore.
Those guys are replaced by such experienced guys as senior tailback Trey Harris and senior wideout Ra’el Senghor. That wealth of experience still available at the skill positions has led some to believe the Vikings may still be a threat this season in region 2-5A. Especially with the question marks being faced by Byrnes and Dorman.
Neither team scored in the first quarter of the tough week zero test for the Vikings, with the best opportunity being squandered with a miss wide left on a 37 yard fieldgoal try by Spartanburg.
South Pointe finally drew first blood at the 10:22 mark of the 2nd quarter on a Malachi Marshall TD pass to Mikey Mann just 1 play after TJ Johnson was intercepted by Fred Reese.
The Stallions added on with a fieldgoal with 4:52 to play in the half to up the advantage to 10-0 before once again TJ Johsinn would be picked off to send the game into the half.
The 3rd quarter would fare no better for the Vikings, as the Stallions once again drove down the field, stalling out inside the Spartanburg 10. They would add on with a fieldgoal to go up 13-0 with 9:18 to play in the stanza.
Spartanburg finally broke the goose egg about 3 minutes later when Johnson found junior Justin Rice in the left corner of the endzone for a TD to make it a 1 score game going to the 4th.
South Pointe leaned heavily on their run game during the 4th quarter, but once again failed to find the endzone as the Vikes held them to a fieldgoal to make it 16-7.
Late in the game, a blocked punt for a TD by Spartanburg’s Christian Roberts cut the deficit to 2. But, in the end, it was the Stallions that held on for the 16-14 win.
Things don’t get any easier for the Vikings as they hit the road to take on Dutch Fork next week.
Greenville 34 Dorman 21
The Cavaliers entered the 2023 season once again in the midst of a coaching transition as Dustin Curtis resigned to move back to the Columbia area to be closer to family. Dorman opted to promote from within, hiring a 2009 alum and Dave Gutshall disciple in Jake Morris as their new leader.
Morris entered his first season with a ton of question marks, much like Mark Hodge at their cross-town rival Spartanburg. It was unknown through most of the offseason who their running back and quarterback would be, a problem Dorman has not faced in quite some time. They also had to replace such guys as running back Demarius Foster, O linemen DJ Geth and Markee Anderson.
The QB question was answered as Senior David Sorenson ended up getting the nod. As far as weapons around him, Keenan Arcega-Whiteside and Tra’Von Fernandez returned this year. But, still no answer as to who would be running back.
Things got off to a not-so-great start for the boys in blue and white as Greenville drew first blood on a blocked punt that was recovered in the endzone for a TD, giving the Red Raiders a 7-0 advantage they carried into the 2nd quarter.
The Raiders added on when QB Bryson Drummond connected with South Carolina commit Mazeo Bennett on a swing pass for a 27 yard TD to go up 14-0.
Dorman finally cracked the scoreboard with about 4:00 to play in the half, but missed the PAT, cutting the deficit to 14-6. Greenville made them pay for the missed extra point as they went down the field quickly and scored on a 34 yard pass from Bryson Drummond to Si Teasley, making it 21-6, which would hold as the halftime score.
Dorman would go down 28-6 in the 3rd quarter as Greenville backup QB Zack Picklesimer took it in from 10 yards out.
The Cavs finally broke back into the score column on a 4 yard David Sorenson TD run and converted the 2 point try to cap a 6 play 8 0 yard drive. The Cavs would march once again, this time 63 yards in 11 plays that ended in a 3 yard rush by Sorenson to make it 28-21.
In the end, it was Mazeo Bennett that amazed again, as he put a stop to the Cavaliers’ comeback hopes on a 35 yard TD reception. The PAT was no good, but it was enough to propel Greenville to the 34-21 win.
Dorman was led by David Sorenson, who was 9 of 22 through the air for 166 yards and a TD with 2 picks. He also led the rushing attack with 53 yards on 16 carries with 2 TDs. Arecega-Whiteside logged 2 catches for 73 yards while Tra’Von Fernandez hauled in 5 passes for 41 yards. Brannon Teamer had the lone receiving TD on his lone catch for 40 yards.
The Cavaliers will now turn their attention to their home opener against North Augusta next week.
TL Hanna 34 Boiling Springs 26
The Boiling Springs Bulldogs are the lone 5A team in our area with the luxury of a returning starting QB – Lincoln Huskey. With a bigger and more experienced offensive line (whole team, really), around him plus a new QB coach in Brian Turk (who has been head coach at Limestone as well as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at South Carolina), Huskey was expected to make big strides this season along with the Bulldogs as a whole.
If their effort on Friday night was any indication, the Bulldogs might just turn some heads this season.
Boiling Springs drew first blood on #7-ranked TL Hanna – already a massive improvement over when these 2 squads met in Anderson to open the 2022 season to the tune of a 43-0 shutout by the Yellow Jackets – when Javen Chhim broke off a 36 yard run to set up a Lincoln Huskey TD pass to Kyle Patterson to go up 6-0.
They added on as Huskey and Patterson once again connected for a 13 yard TD to make it 13-0 to cap a drive aided by a 73 yard run by junior tailback RyShaun Morgan.
It soured a bit after that as TL Hanna tied things up with a pair of 50+ yard TD runs, something we are used to seeing from this TL Hanna offense.
Javen Chhim put his team back in front with a long TD rush of his own, scampering 42 yards up the gut to go up 19-13 with about 10 minutes to go in the half.
Hanna outscored Boiling Springs 14-0 to take a 27-19 lead to the half, and extended it to 34-19 on a 60+ yard TD drive to open the 3rd quarter. But the Dogs barked back.
Lincoln Huskey connected with Tre-Sean Taylor for a 5 yard score to pull back within a TD, setting up an intriguing finish.
One one instance, the Bulldogs fumbled near the goal line, giving it back to Hanna. But their defense held and got the ball back. Then, on a controversial play, the Bulldogs were initially awarded a first down only for the refs to convene and side with the TL Hanna coach pleading his case with them. It was overturned and forced them to have to go for it on 4th down. Unfortunately, they turned it over on downs, allowing TL Hanna to run out the clock.
Huskey was 11 of 22 for 207 yards through the air with 3 TDs and a pick. Kyle Patterson hauled in 5 passes for 95 yards and a pair of TDs while Eli Mobley added 85 yards on 3 receptions. Boiling Springs also amassed an impressive 255 yards on the ground, led by Javen Chhim with 116 on 14 carries with a TD.
The Bulldogs now look to get in the win column on the road next week at Mauldin.
Crest 44 Gaffney 38
The Riley Staton year (can’t really say era if he only gets a year, right?) got off to a sluggish start on the road in Boiling Springs (North Carolina) as the Indians traveled to take on the Crest Chargers.
The 2 sides traded 3 and outs to start the game before Crest landed the first punch via a 6 yard TD pass to Javarius Green – not to be confused with Jarvis Green from Dutch Fork a year ago.
After the Chargers missed the PAT, Gaffney responded with a drive that ended in a Jake Spadavecchia fieldgoal to cut Crest’s lead in half.
With just a handful of ticks left in the 1st quarter, the Chargers added on via a 66 yard TD run by Aidan Carson, missing yet again on the extra point to make it 12-3 at the end of the 1st.
Riley Staton would record his first passing TD that counts as an Indian on their first series of the 2nd quarter, connecting with Jamarcus Smith for a 48 yard TD. Spadavecchia’s PAT made it 12-10 with 11:45 to play in the half.
Less than 40 seconds later, Crest responded with a 19 yard TD pass, and the back-and-forth was on.
Gaffney pulled back within a fieldgoal on a 24 yard TD run by Jaiden McDowell, and then took their first lead of the night after a fumble set up a 4 yard McDowell TD rush to make it 24-20 in favor of the Indians.
Now for the Uno reverse card. Gaffney fumbled a handoff, Crest recovered and on the last play of the half scored on a 24 yd TD pass from Ny’Tavious Huskey to Malachi Addison, missing the PAT once again to make it 26-24 at the half.
The 2 teams traded blows again in the 2nd half, and in the end, Crest scored on each of their final 2 drives to complete the comeback and down the Indians
Staton went 14 of 25 for 279 yards with 2 TDs in his debut to go along with 6 carries for 12 yards. Emazon Littlejohn and Jamarcus Smith each had 6 receptions for a combined 214 yards and 2 TDs. Jaiden McDowell ran 20 times for 142 yards with 3 TDs.
Gaffney will give the Highway 18 Rivalry a 2nd try after weather forced the game to be stopped and not continued a year ago at Union County, hosting the Yellow Jackets next week at the Reservation.
Daniel 48 Greer 20
The Greer Yellow Jackets could not have had too much tougher of a test for week zero than welcoming perennial 3A power DW Daniel to Dooley Field, and it went about how you might have expected.
Daniel took command early, marching down the field on the game’s opening series and scoring on a 5 yard TD run by Ja’Kari Bennett to cap a 4 play, 52 yard drive. They would later add on with a 5 play, 57-yard drive that ended in a 12 yard TD pass from Kolton Chapman to Ja’Kari Bennett, making it 14-0 in favor of the Lions with 3:45 to play in the quarter.
At the 4:10 mark of the 2nd quarter, Greer finally found paydirt via a 40 yard TD run by LaDainnian Martin. The 2 point conversion would fall incomplete, making it 14-6 in favor of Daniel.
The 2 would go on to trade blows until the 4th quarter when Daniel put together 3 consecutive scoring drives to ice the game away – one of 69 yards, another of 22 yards, and the last of 69 yards.
Greer was led by a big night from LaDainnian Martin, who tallied 145 yards on 15 carries with 3 TDs. Brock Diggins and Chase Byrd combined for 59 yards on 7 carries. Quarterback Keedyn Platt was 4 for 5 with 65 yards.
Greer will travel to Hillcrest Friday for yet another tough non-region test.
Broome 22 Powdersville 21
These 2 teams are certainly no strangers to one another, as for what feels like the 50th year in a row, the Centurions and Patriots faced off to open the season, and once again, it was an absolute barn burner.
After a scoreless opening frame, Broome went up 14-0 with just under 2:00 to play in the first half, going on to take that lead to the intermission.
Powdersville broke into the score column in the 3rd quarter, making for a 1 score game headed to the final 12:00.
Powdersville managed to score and get the 2 point conversion to take a narrow 15-14 lead, but Broome struck right back with 1:45 to play in the game, converting a 2 point try of their own to go up 22-15.
The Patriots responded, but with very little time left on the clock, they had to go for 2 in order to try and tie it and force overtime. Enter the hero of the story.
That 2 point try was stopped thanks to a game-winning tackle by senior Defensive tackle Chance Williams, and Broome held on for a huge win over the defending 3A Upperstate Champions.
Kamajay Brackett-Brannon tallied 24 rushes for 94 yards, 1 rushing TD to go with his 9-12, 125 yard effort with 1 Passing TD. Jaylen McGill had 28 rushes for 137 yards and a rushing TD. 6 different centurions logged at least 1 reception on the night with the lone TD coming from Landon Deaton, who had 2 catches for 29 yards.
Broome will set their attention on a big one next week as they host what looks to be a very resurgent Chesnee team.
Newberry 47 Union 20
Chesnee 41 Blue Ridge 30
The Chesnee Eagles, like their cross-district sister in Boiling Springs, are a squad that returns a lot of players and have some expectation of being much-improved, particularly on the offensive side of the ball as they change their identity to be more of a balanced offense.
That was perfectly exemplified in what may have been the biggest surprise of week 0, as the Eagles used a fast start and their aerial attack to take down the Blue Ridge Tigers at home.
After electing to receive the opening kickoff, Chesnee ran the ball 7 straight times, opening up a big 17 yard TD strike to Kaylob Blanton to go up 7-0.
After a quick 3 and out, the Eagles struck again, starting in plus territory at the BR 38 yardline. Adonis Burgess capped the 6 play drive with a 4 yard TD run to extend the lead to 14-0 with around 4 minutes to play in the first.
Chesnee added on once again on their 3rd series of the night, scoring on a KJ Proctor 2 yard keeper to go up 20-0.
It wasn’t until the 8:00 mark of the 2nd quarter that Blue Ridge finally found the end zone, cutting the deficit to 27-6. They pulled back to within a score their next series when they broke off a 37 yard TD run and converted the 2 to make it 27-14.
Chesnee got back going thanks to a 51 yard rush by Kaylob Blanton that set up another KJ Proctor rushing TD from 2 yards out to make for the halftime score of 34-14.
The 2 sides traded blows in the 2nd half, but in the end, Blue Ridge’s hopes for a comeback were dashed when Chesneee recovered an onside kick up 41-30 with under a minute to go in the game. The Eagles melted the clock with a couple knees to gain their first season-opening win since 2020 when they defeated Legion Collegiate at home.
The Eagles were led by Kjay Proctor, who was efficient both through the air and on the ground, logging 8 completions for 92 yards and 2 TDs as well as rushing for 43 yards and 3 TDs. Noah Lawter added 96 rushing yards while Adonis Burgess had 2 TDs (1 rushing, 1 receiving) and Kaylob Blanton had 1 receiving TD.
Chesnee will head to Broome next week for what should be a fun battle between 2 squads that were both young a year ago but look to have not only grown physically, but developed quite a bit.