About the only thing Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School football coach Blake Raley was happy with Friday night was the win.
Everything else he would much rather forget.
The Jaguars slugged their way to a 20-16 win over Garrett Academy Tech on a chilly night to remain in the hunt for a home playoff game, which will be determined next week at home against Bishop England. But this one wasn't settled until 18 seconds left in regulation, when Ridgeland-Hardeeville defensive end Tyree Simmons recorded a fourth-down sack to end what was otherwise a frustrating night.
"They did what they had to do," Raley said. "They bent, but they didn't break. They didn't let the floodgate open, but the dam cracked a little bit."
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Ridgeland-Hardeeville (6-3, 5-1 Region 6-AA), trailed 2-0 entering the second quarter after recording no first downs and six penalties in the game's first 12 minutes. But a pair of touchdown catches from Gavin Bush and another scoring run from quarterback D.J. Myers was enough to help the Jaguars escape.
"It's good to get a win," said Bush, who took a swing route 50 yards for a score in the second quarter before adding a 26-yard touchdown late in the third. "I think the cold weather kind of got to us. We started kind of slow, kind of rusty. But we found a way to dig in and pull it out."
Their frustrations were due in large part to a Garrett Academy Tech offense that played keepaway with the high-scoring Jaguars. Five different tailbacks recorded at least seven carries for the Falcons (5-3, 2-4), who went for it on fourth down all but once.
But Ridgeland-Hardeeville got the only stop it would need on the Falcons' final drive, which Simmons ended after Garrett Academy Tech spent the first seven plays gashing the Jaguars up the middle. Their front seven struggled in the absence of linebacker and center Craven Howard, who didn't dress after leaving last week's game with an injury.
"It was kind of hard to deal with," said Bush, who finished with five catches for 117 yards. " ... We can't put up points if we can't get our offense on the field."
The Jaguars will take it. All they need to do now is beat Bishop England, which remained unbeaten Friday with a 35-7 thrashing of Woodland, which entered this week No. 4 in the S.C. Prep Football Media Poll.
"We're in Week 10, and everything is still in our hands," Raley said.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville 20, Garrett Academy Tech 16
Garrett Academy Tech 2 6 0 8 -- 16
Ridgeland-Hardeeville 0 8 6 6 -- 20
RH--Gavin Bush 50 catch from D.J. Myers (Shawn Wilson rush), 10:22.
GA--Christian Weston 18 catch from Kevin Duncan (rush failed), 0:14.
RH--Bush 26 catch from Myers (pass failed), 1:39.
RH--Myers 5 rush (rush failed), 9:52.
GA--Tony Flint 2 rush (Flint rush), 4:57.
First Downs 16 10
Rushes-Yards 49-183 23-92
Comp-Att-Int 6-14-1 8-13-0
Passing Yards 52 138
Punts-Avg 1-29 2-25
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-55 10-67
Third-Down Conv 2-11 2-7
Fourth-Down Conv 3-6 1-2
PASSING: GA -- Kevin Duncan 6-14-1-52; RH -- D.J. Myers 8-13-0-138
RUSHING: GA -- Nathaniel Ancrum 11-57, Jamey Cooper 12-53, Kenneth Mungin 10-37, Derrell Roberts 9-21, Kevin Duncan 7-15; RH -- D.J. Myers 12-51, Shawn Wilson 3-20, Josh Fields 3-13, Ashawn Kemp 5-8
RECEIVING: GA -- Christian Weston 1-14, Jamey Cooper 3-18, Maurice Simmons 1-10; RH -- Gavin Bush 5-117, Josh Fields 2-12, Darrius Solomen 1-9.