Week 5 Recap
The last week of non-region play notably brought with it some bad nights and heartbreak, but also featured a lot of blowouts for our local squads that will no doubt lead to some confidence as we get going into region play – when it all really starts to matter – next week. Let’s dive in.
Broome 55 Woodruff 14
The Centurions offense just keeps on rolling. Since former Landrum Head Coach Jason Farmer joined Lynn Fleming’s staff as run game coordinator, his impact on them has been evident. Obviously, Jaylen McGill and Kamajay Brackett-Brannon were both very capable runners before Farmer came along. But, these 2 guys have only gotten better every week, save for their loss to Spartanburg where the Vikings made both of them a non-factor. But, being that the Vikings have arguably the best defense in the upstate – maybe even in the state as a whole, that is not surprising nor is it something you can hold against Broome.
For perspective, just 2 weeks ago, the Centurions racked up nearly 600 yards of total offense, with 493 of it coming on the ground. Those numbers are almost like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl, and give evidence to “The Farmer Effect”.
This week, the Centurion offense tallied nearly 500 yards of total offense – 336 of which came via the ground game. I’m probably making myself out to be Captain Obvious here, but Jaylen McGill led the way with 14 rushes for 174 yards with 2 TDs. Brackett-Brannon logged 133 yards on 14 carries of his own with a TD on top of his 8 for 11 passing with 155 yards and 2 TDs.
Tresean Suber hauled in 3 catches for 112 yards with a TD and on the defensive side, Tristan Cromer had 2 pick 6’s as Broome made quick work of the Woodruff Wolverines.
Clover 36 Boiling Springs 21
On a crisp homecoming night at Bulldog Stadium, Boiling Springs came in feeling good after winning 2 of their last 3, with a solid W over Chapman and a win over Greer last week. Unfortunately for the Dogs, homecoming night would be spoiled.
We often ascribe a meaning or read into every game because we like to overanalyze everything. But, here is the simple truth – not every game means something. Every turnover, every loss, every stat – good or bad, they don’t necessarily indicate how good a team is, if things are trending up, or if things are more on the doom and gloom side. The thing about football, and really all sports, is that teams have bad days. Good teams struggle. Sometimes they lose when they shouldn’t. That may just have been the case with the Boiling Springs Bulldogs this week.
This BSHS squad, composed largely of juniors, has no doubt shown tremendous growth and improvement, having surpassed their win total from a year ago (2) within the first month of the season. But, nonetheless, one thing that still sticks out is that they have their undisciplined moments. They committed a lot of penalties, many of them costly, and that was no better evidenced than on the game’s opening possession. Boiling Springs deferred to the 2nd half, and on a couple of occasions, had Clover on a 3rd and long situation, only to give it up on a penalty. Clover drove the ball to the Bulldogs’ 19 yardline before stalling. The BSHS defense forced a turnover on downs at their own 16 to negate the early threat. But, the woes on 3rd and 4th down would go on to be a theme in this one.
Following the turnover, the Dogs drove it 84 yards, capping it with an 11 yard TD run by Javen Chhim to go up 7-0 with 4 minutes to play in the 1st quarter.
Clover responded with their own methodical drive, going with a steady dose of their 6 foot, 160 pound running back Landon Stone – who is just as physical as the numbers on his big frame would lead you to believe. They marched it 80 yards, scoring on a 3 yard TD by him. They botched the snap on the PAT, leading to the Bulldogs holding a narrow 7-6 advantage.
Boiling Springs failed to respond, instead shooting themselves in the foot several times and in several ways. They went 3 and out behind back to back holding calls, which resulted in a 4th and Lake Bowen. A holding call on the ensuing punt return by Clover pinned them back to their own 7 with just over a minute to play. But, they managed to convert 2 big third and longs – one of which was a breakdown in coverage that allowed a receiver to be free in behind the defense for a walk-in 31 yard TD to give the Blue Eagles the lead 13-7, which they held at the break.
The Bulldogs looked to take the momentum early in the 2nd half after Javen Chhim took the first play from scrimmage 79 yards for a TD to make it 14-13 in favor of Boiling Springs. The defense followed it by forcing a Clover 3 and out. Javen Chhim returned the punt to around midfield. But, once again, mistakes prevented the Dogs from building on their lead. Huskey had a pass that was right in the hands of an open receiver on 2nd down dropped. On the next play, Lincoln Huskey fumbled and fell on it, and after a well-covered punt that resulted in the Blue Eagles being pinned back at their own 15. It took just a few more minutes for Clover to drive it 15 yards, scoring on a Landon Stone 14 yard rush on a sweep to the right that gave them the lead for good.
They broke the game open with a long punt return TD by TJ McCluney after the Bulldogs once again went 3 and out. McCluney muffed it, recovered and managed to take advantage of the breakdown in coverage as he went all the way to and down the far sideline untouched. On the ensuing kickoff, they caught the Bulldogs napping again by pooching it towards the sideline, where nobody was near to cover it, allowing the Blue Eagles to recover it at the Bulldog 22. A few plays later, on 4th and 21, they caught Boiling Springs’ defense napping again with a wide open 31 yard TD shot down the middle of the field to a wide open man.
Clover added on with a 31 yard fieldgoal while the Bulldogs added a garbage time TD on a 4th down strike from Lincoln Huskey to Javen Chhim for a 55 yard TD to make for the final margin.
Javen Chhim led the Bulldogs with 176 yards on 9 carries and 2 TDs as well as 4 snags for 57b yards and a TD. Lincoln Huskey was 12 of 20 for 118 yards and a TD. Kyle Patterson was the leading receiver with 5 catches for 49 yards.
The Bulldogs open region play next week on the road at Dorman.
Speaking of Dorman..
River Bluff 29 Dorman 28
Remember when I mentioned heartbreak in the intro? This was it.
The Gators jumped out to a 7-0 lead early before Dorman scored the next 21 unanswered. River Bluff finally found their way back onto the scoreboard with a late fieldgoal with about 20 ticks to play in the first half, making a 21-10 deficit at the intermission.
They also stuck again at the 8:00 mark of the 3rd quarter on a 3 yard TD run to cut it to 21-16. Dorman jumped out to a 28-16 lead with an 8 yard pick 6 by Kentavion Anderson with about 10:00 to go in the game before the Gators stormed back with 14 unanswered, holding on for a 29-28 win. Dorman led the whole game just to see it slip away over the last 6 minutes.
On the positive side, QB Riley Scruggs was 14 for 19 passing with 178 yards and a TD. Brice O’Neal netted 53 yards with a TD on 8 carries. That’s also the negative. Only 1 rusher with over 20 yards. TJ Gassoway had 16 and George Olley had 13. The Cavs had just over 80 rushing yards on the night. This offense is still very much so unbalanced.
That puts the Cavaliers in very unfamiliar territory – a 1-4 record entering region 2-5A play next week and struggling hard on the offensive side of the ball. They will have a tough test even though they will be at Cavalier Stadium. Could we be seeing a year where Dorman doesn’t even make the playoffs? The next 5 weeks will tell.
Gaffney 48 Fort Dorchester 40
Last week, the Indians faced their first bit of adversity since week zero, when they fell to Crest (NC), getting smashed by a very good Northwestern at home. Dan Jones has never been one for letting his teams dwell on tough losses early on. So, it would not be outside the realm of possibilities to see Gaffney bounce back even with a tough battle on the road this week.
This game turned out to be an even battle with the box scores mirroring each other through the first 3 quarters. Both squads hung 20 points in a first quarter that took well over an hour. Over the next 2 quarters, both squads hung a TD a piece, making for a 34 all tie going into the final 12 minutes.
Gaffney scored the next 14 unanswered on an Emazon Littlejohn reception and a Jaiden McDowell run. Fort D would pull back within a score, but with a shot to try and tie it or take the lead, it was the Gaffney defense that sealed it via an interception with about 3 minutes to play. Jaiden McDowell later converted a 4th and 3 inside the red zone, but Dan Jones opted just to walk out with the win in hand, kneeing out the clock from there.
Emazon Littlejohn and Jamarcus Smith each had a pair of receiving TDs, with Littlejohn also adding a rushing score. Jaiden McDowell also contributed a pair of rushing TDs in the win.
Gaffney is off next week before opening region play on the road October 6th at Viking Stadium against Spartanburg.
Elsewhere in 5A, Spartanburg and Byrnes both pitched shutouts with the Vikings going on the road to the Woodruff Road area of Greenville county to pick up a 57-0 win over Mauldin, and the Rebels having a fun homecoming night by getting some sweet revenge on West Florence, who beat them on the final play of the game a year ago, with a 49-0 win. Those 2 will meet up next week at Nixon Field to start region 2-5A play.
Westside 56 Greer 42
The Greer Yellow Jackets went with Chris Hall as their starting QB this week in the finale to their murderers’ row of a non-region schedule. His performance was a bright spot in what was a back and forth battle with a good Westside team for them, going 11 for 17 with 163 yards and 2 TDs in addition to him also being their leading rusher. He ran the ball 21 times for 107 yards and 2 TDs, just surpassing LaDainnian Martin, who had 103 yards with 2 TDs on 18 touches. Chase Byrd and Brock Diggins each had a TD reception, with Byrd tallying 97 yards on 5 catches.
This was a 1-score game with 3:24 to play before the Rams drove 52 yards on 6 plays to salt it away with an 8 yard TD run.
Greer’s struggles on defense are still a point of concern for them as they enter region play at 1-4 on the season. They will make the trip down to Laurens next week to open region play with a favorable matchup against the Raiders.
Chapman 57 Union County 14
After passing a big defensive test last week against Clinton, the Panthers’ offense got back to form in a big way against the Yellow Jackets at home Friday night. Union County took an early 7-0 lead on an 11 yard Td run by Cam Owens. That lead would be short-lived as the Panthers broke onto the scoreboard in less than conventional fashion, tying things up via an 80 yard run by Coleman Gray on a fake punt. 3 minutes later, Gray once again found paydirt on an 8 yard rush to give the Panthers the lead for good.
Chapman went on to score 50 unanswered over the next 2 quarters to make it 57-7. Union managed to muster a TD with about 10:00 to play in the game on a 15 yard strike to Josh Rice-Brandon, which made for the final tally.
Coleman Gray finished 10 for 13 through the air with 268 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding another 102 yards with 2 TDs on the ground. Nine different Panther receivers hauled in at least 1 reception, with Shawn Cunningham topping the stat. Cunningham tallied 120 yards on 4 catches, a big part of his 185 all-purpose yards on the night, the rest coming on a 65 yard punt return for a TD.
The Panthers will start region play next week with what will be over by kickoff as they take on the Carolina Trojans on the road. Granted, Carolina has won 2 in a row. But, Chapman is still a vastly better team as far as talent goes.
Landrum 74 Blue Ridge 34
Let’s call a spade a spade. Blue Ridge is struggling this year. They were 0-5 coming in, giving up an average of 44 points per game. With Landrum’s offensive resurgence this season, plus the explosiveness of Colton Link and physicality of Braden Mashtare, it was a recipe for disaster for the Tigers.
Long story short, it was a fun fest from the get-go for the Cardinals. AJ Medvar returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a TD. Blue Ridge answered, but missed the PAT. Then, AJ Medvar found the end zone again, this time on a 46 yard catch and run. Titus Poore added a 35 yard rushing TD to open up a 3 score lead.
Hayden Martindale also logged a TD reception from 27 yards out for the Cardinals before Colton Link exploded in the 2nd half.
In the end, the Cardinals hung 70 on a struggling team. But, that is what is so impressive. They hung 70, with Link accounting for 400+ yards of their total offense.
Landrum is rolling like we have not seen them in a long time, which may not bode well for Chesnee. The 2 rivals will meet up in Chesnee to open region play next week.