Yuneek Crittendon directed a nod to his community this week.
The Battery Creek High School junior running back said he and the Dolphins were proud to have brought their school a home playoff game, proud to give the fans a reason to come out and watch a meaningful football game in chilly November. Battery Creek, hosting a playoff game for the first time in 10 years, rewarded its faithful Friday, defeating Waccamaw 21-13 to advance to the second round of the Class 2-A Division I playoffs.
"For our school and our community," Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman said. "That's the most important thing."
Battery Creek will travel to Loris, which is 7-2 and enjoyed a bye during the first round. The Dolphins advance to the second round for the first time since 2002, when they last hosted a playoff game.
Never miss a local story.
The playoff victory Friday was only the program's third. Battery Creek improved to 6-5 and has won four consecutive games, its longest win streak since 2001.
The warm feelings might have run their course. Battery Creek faces a tougher test next week, a banged-up star and a long bus ride. And three lost fumbles during the first half continued a trend that has bothered Dolphins' coaches.
But that wasn't going to detract from Friday night, a celebration three years coming after Battery Creek endured a split to create Whale Branch Early College High School and suffered through two seasons in Class 3-A with a fraction of its former population.
Shuman thought the Dolphins had better quickness than the Warriors. And Crittendon had rushed for 100 yards by halftime.
But the Warriors were faster than they appeared on film, Shuman said. Waccamaw has been without standout running back Jalen Simmons, who tore his ACL on Oct. 12. Starting quarterback Jack Monroe went down to injury about the same time.
The pieced-together Warriors broke off several big runs, including fullback Justin Holmes' 36-yard burst to move his team within striking distance during the fourth quarter.
But Battery Creek linebacker Caleb Harris read the tight end set on third-and-goal and intercepted Scott Hiler's pass with under five minutes remaining. Dolphins quarterback Raekwon Smalls, rolling right deep in his own end zone, found Zach Mahan for a 17-yard gain on third down to help Battery Creek bleed the clock.
Smalls had a quiet night to that point, and Mahan had played a series at quarterback while Shuman allowed Smalls to collect his nerves.
The Dolphins' option offense was slowed early by the turnovers but began clicking, with tight end Isaiah Sloan slipping free for a wide open 39-yard touchdown catch and Crittendon racing 44 yards for another score.
Crittendon's status is up in the air after injuring his knee during the second half. Shuman said he doesn't know the extent of the injury. Smalls left the field with ice on his collarbone after going down hard the final series but should be fine, Shuman said.
He expects the sophomore to be under center when the Dolphins try to again make history.
"We did something that hasn't been done in Creek history in a long time," Harris said. "I'm just ready for the next game."
Battery Creek 21, Waccamaw 13
Waccamaw 0 7 6 0 -- 13
Battery Creek 7 14 0 0 -- 21
BC-- Yuneek Crittendon 2 run (Zach Mahan kick) 7:40
W-- Rob Ferraro 10 pass from Scott Hiler (Eddie Meador kick) 8:12
BC-- Isaiah Sloan 39 pass from Raekwon Smalls (Mahan kick) 7:03
BC-- Crittendon 44 run (Mahan run) 4:14
W-- JJ Sherman 36 run (kick failed) 9:09
First downs 8 14
Passing yards 10 67
Comp-Att-Int 1-7-1 3-10-1
Rushing 37-205 41-237
Penalties-yards 5-40 4-30
Fumbles-lost 2-2 5-3
Punts-avg 4-30 2-35.1
Rushing: Waccamaw-- Kelton Grant 13-69, Rob Ferraro 16-57, JJ Sherman 7-41, Justin Holmes 1-36, Harley Temlin 1-2. Battery Creek-- Yuneek Crittendon 13-108, DJ Franklin 10-83, Darrin Peeks 9-36, Raekwon Smalls 4-10, DeAndre Johnson 6-0.
Passing: Waccamaw-- Scott Hiler 1-6-10-1. Battery Creek-- Smalls 3-9-67, Zach Mahan 0-1-1.
Receiving: Waccamaw-- Ferraro 1-10. Battery Creek-- Isaiah Sloan 1-39, Mahan 1-17, David Frazier 1-11.