High School Football

Bluffton opens playoffs strong, runs past South Florence, 37-13

Goose Creek likely to be Bobcats' opponent for 2nd round

The Florence Morning NewsNovember 9, 2012 

FLORENCE -- Bluffton coach Ken Cribb said it wasn't easy preparing to face his former team South Florence in the first round of the Class 4-A Division II playoffs.

But Cribb was breathing a little easier after his Bobcats defeated the Bruins 37-13 on Thursday at Memorial Stadium.

The victory is the Bobcats' first playoff victory on the Class 4-A level. Bluffton moved up to 4-A a year after playing for the Class 3-A championship last season.

The Bobcats will face tonight's Goose Creek-Conway winner in the second round of the playoffs next week.

"It was very emotional for me. It wasn't too much fun playing against people you know and care about," said Cribb, who coached at South Florence from 2001-06. "I would rather have played someone I didn't know, to be honest.

"But I am pleased with how my players played and I'm happy to be moving on to the next round."

Cribb, who is in his third season at Bluffton, has built the Bobcats into one of the state's top offensive teams, and it showed against the Bruins.

Led by Tykeem Major's 149 rushing yards, Bluffton racked up 402 yards of offense. Receiver Marquis Webber caught nine passes for 109 yards and also rushed for 86 yards, while 280-pound defensive tackle K.J. Ford had a pair of 1-yard TD runs.

Quarterback C.J. Frazier was held to his second-lowest passing total of the season but still managed to throw for 128 yards and a touchdown.

After a scoreless first quarter, Bluffton took control by scoring 20 points in the final 6:51 of the second quarter to lead 20-0 at halftime.

"That is how it has been for us all year. We have been sporadic and get a spark off something and roll pretty quick," Cribb said.

Ford got the Bobcats (11-1) on the board with a 1-yard run to cap a 10-play, 62-yard drive.

On their next possession, the Bruins moved the ball down to the Bluffton 35 and went for it on fouth-and-9, but Tyquan Johnson couldn't hold on to a pass from Josh Johnson, turning the ball over on downs.

On the next play, Major took it 64 yards down to the South Florence 1. Shameik Blackshear scored one play later to make it 14-0 with 4:47 left in the second.

"We dropped a touchdown pass and then we got a little flat and they busted that big run on us," South coach David Prince said. "That was kind of a momentum changer that killed us. If we hang on to the ball there, who knows, it may have been a different game.

"But give credit to Bluffton, they are a good football team and Coach Cribb has done a good job. I tip my hat to them."

Bluffton capitalized on a Bruins turnover when South Florence's Tabari Hines fumbled a punt. The Bobcats took over at the South Florence 31 and scored three plays later on Gerald Roberson's 1-yard reception to make it 20-0.

The Bruins got on the board with 2:56 left in the third quarter when Johnson hit Fabian Jefferson on a 15-yard touchdown pass to get the Bruins to within 27-7.

Johnson threw for 109 yards and rushed for 51. Sophomore running back Rodney Brunson rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Mason Edwards led South Florence receivers with four catches for 53 yards.

The Bruins finish the year at 7-5 in Prince's first season and advanced to the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

"We are excited about our younger kids coming up, but we got a lot of development left to do," Prince said. "We got a lot of maturing and work to do in the offseason, and we will get started on it Monday."

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