Recap of 3rd Round Playoff Action
Greer vs Greenville. Dooley Field. Third round of Class AAAA Playoffs. To say it was a big night would be a bit of an understatement! 11-1 Greer, champions of Region II-AAAA, hosted the champions of Region I-AAAA, 11-1 Greenville for a shot at advancing to Upper State. Greenville's Ty Hellams took the opening kickoff back 66 yards, setting up Davis Beville to Hellams for a 21-yard TD and a 7-0 Red Raiders lead two plays into the game. Greer's Quavian White responded by returning the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a score, but a missed PAT left the Jackets trailing 7-6. After the early fireworks, both teams settled in and the defenses began to make their impact felt. Greer stopped Greenville on a pair of 4th down attempts, stalling Raider drives. Meanwhile, Greenville's defense forced and recovered a fumble by Greer's Dre Williams and after one the score remained 7-6 Raiders. In the 2nd, Greer's offense broke through as Trey Houston hit Braxton Collins for the go ahead score and Matthew Huff's 2-point run made it 14-7 Yellow Jackets. After another defensive stop, Houston hooked up with a wide open Huff for 38-yards and a 21-7 lead. Greenville stalled out around midfield and kicked a beautiful punt, pinning Greer inside their own 1-yard line. On 1st down, Dre Williams more than made up for his earlier fumble by finding a seam and racing 99 yards for the score, putting the Jackets up comfortable 28-7. Down, but not out Greenville drove the field and Beville connected with Mack Braswell on a short TD pass with :18 seconds to go in the half to cut the lead to 28-15 after a successful 2-point try and gave the Raiders hope heading into the second half. After exchanging a couple punts, Greer marched deep into Greenville territory. Houston found Qua White on an RPO play for a score, but it was nullified by an illegal man downfield call. On the next play, Houston went right back to White on a fade route and a 34-15 lead. Early in the 4th Greer put an end to all hope the Raiders had after Houston hit White on a swing pass and the track star hurdled himself over a pair of defenders into the endzone for a 41-15 lead. Hoston would add another throwing TD, his 35th of the season which sets a new all-time school record and the Yellow Jackets would cruise to a 47-15 victory. Greer will host #1 South Pointe on Friday night.
Eastside (11-1) hoped to keep their magical run going Friday night, but to do so they would have to pull a monumental upset over the top ranked team in South Carolina. The South Pointe Stallions are undefeated, are 3-time defending state champions and are ranked #1 in Class AAAA and ranked #5 in the nation by USA Today Sports. Eastside hoped their fast paced, aerial attack featuring a number of weapons and orchestrated by North/South All-Star QB Jordan Morgan would present problems for the mighty Stallions defense. Unfortunately for the Eagles, it did not and early mistakes proved costly. On their opening possession, Eastside was forced to punt deep inside their own territory. The punt was blocked, giving South Pointe the ball at the Eagles 14. The Stallions converted for a 7-0 lead. Eastside gambled on 4th down on their next possession, but were stopped inches short on 4th down,again giving South Pointe great field position and a 14-0 lead. On their third possession, Morgan was picked at midfield and South Ponte had a 21-0 lead before the 1st quarter ended. Less than a minute into the 2nd quarter, Morgan was again picked, this time Jalen Hicks returned it for a score. Eastside drove deep into South Pointe territory a couple times but were never able to come away with points as the Stallions built up a 35-0 halftime lead. They would go on for the 48-0 shutout victory. Morgan threw for over 200 yards vs the vaunted South Pointe defense, 71 of those going to Daniel Baldwin on his five receptions. Morgan, Baldwin, Chance Pride, Payton Mangrum and the rest of the 22 Eagles seniors led Eastside from a 2-9 team to an 11-2 season that ends on the road at one of the best teams in the country.
In Class AAAAA, Hillcrest (10-2) hosted Gaffney (8-4). It was the second time these two teams met, Gaffney having defeated the Rams in Week 4 of the regular season at The Reservation. The Indians also knocked the Rams out of the 2016 playoffs, so with home field advantage Hillcrest was hoping to turn the tables on Gaffney. Things looked promising early as Hillcrest marched right down the field and into the redzone. Donte Anthony took a direct snap and drove the pile down to the 3-yard line, but in the scrum a Gaffney defender came away with the ball ending the Rams scoring threat. This play sort of encapsulated the night for Hillcrest, a series of missed opportunities and mistakes. After defense held near midfield on a 4th down try by the Indians, Hillcrest got the ball back and marched right back down the field but their own drive stalled out on 4th down and the score remained 0-0 after one. Gaffney and Hillcrest have played now fours times in two years and in each of the first three meetings the Indians had jumped out to big 1st quarter leads, so far so good for the Rams defense. In the 2nd, the Rams again had the ball deep inside Indians territory, but QB Will Watts was pressured and picked off in the endzone ending another potential scoring drive. The Rams defense would force a Gaffney punt, but Hillcrest muffed the punt, recovered by the Indians which led to a FG and a 3-0 Gaffney lead. Hillcrest got into FG range late in the half, but a botched snap left the Rams scoreless at the half. The Rams outgained Gaffney 208 to 87 in the first half, but costly mistakes left them trailing 3-0. It remained a defensive battle into the 3rd as both offenses failed to mount much of a threat until Gaffney's Cam Rice raced 22 yards on a screen pass for a score and a 10-0 lead with 4:17 left in the quarter. Hillcrest had driven the ball inside the Gaffney 15 four times in the 1st half, but in the 3rd they could get nothing going. Late in the quarter the Rams best chance to score came when a Gaffney fumble was scooped up and returned to the endzone, only to be nullified by the runner being ruled down. Hillcrest got the ball back to open the 4th and drove inside the Indians 30, but a fumble killed another scoring opportunity. On their next possession, Hillcrest got the ball down to the Gaffney 22, but a missed FG left the Rams scoreless with less than six minutes remaining. The Indians would add one last score with a strip-sack, fumble recovery TD by their defense as Hillcrest falls 17-0 ending their season. Hillcrest outgained Gaffney 331-178, but turnovers and mistakes doomed the Rams.
Posted: 11/20/2017 | Author: Jeff Hoffman