ORANGEBURG -- Typical of a home opener, fans reveled in the party-like atmosphere that prevailed at Orangeburg Prep on Friday night.
Unfortunately, for the Indians, Thomas Heyward Academy spoiled the party.
The Rebels' rushing attack was the key to a 14-6 victory.
Quarterback JD Tuten carried 21 times for 123 yards and a touchdown, while running back Ryan Day had 28 carries for a team-high 162 yards and a touchdown. All behind an inexperienced offensive line.
"They battled," THA coach Nic Shuford said of his line. "The backs made a lot of things happen even when there wasn't much there, but the line really battled."
The Rebels' defense was stellar, shutting down the Indian's high-powered offense.
"We kept them under 100 yards passing," Shuford said. "And that's what they like to do."
Defensive linemen John Padgett and Nick Kiefer had eight and seven tackles, respectively, while linebacker Seth Jones made seven stops and recorded a sack of Indians quarterback Reed Grubbs.
The Rebels harassed Grubbs, who was just 9-of-22 for 94 yards and an interception at the hands of freshman Anthony Sanders.
Both teams started slowly, trading punts throughout the first quarter.
The Rebels drew first blood as Tuten scored from five yards out to put Thomas Heyward up 7-0 with 5:47 remaining in the first half.
Assisting the scoring drive were two Indians penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and a personal foul. The Indians would add two similar penalties in the second half.
OP coach Adam Holmes lamented the sloppy performance of his team.
"Thomas Heyward just took it to us," Holmes said. "They hit us in the mouth. It was a sloppy performance on both sides of the football.
"We had a lot of stupid penalties and put ourselves in bad situations."
Grubbs ran for OP's only score with two minutes left in the first half, but a failed PAT sealed the Indians' fate.
Tuten's passing game did little to hurt OP. It was the Rebels' inside rushing that set up effective pitch outs to the corners that the Indians failed to consistently handle.
"It's what they gave us," Shuford said. "They have a good athletic secondary. We tried throwing early, and they did a good job shutting us down. We just kind of abandoned it and went to pounding it."
The last gasp came when the Indians turned the ball over on downs at the Rebels' 46-yard-line with 12 seconds left.
The Orangeburg Times & Democrat contributed to this story.