A fast start, a gutsy finish and a huge dose of Logan Mock helped Thomas Heyward Academy prevail in its season finale, 42-35 over St. Andrew's, despite the Rebels being extremely depleted.
According to head coach Nic Shuford, the Rebels came into the game with only 14 healthy players. By the end of the night, that number was 11. They still managed to hold off the Saints (7-3, 3-2 SCISAA Region 2-AA).
"We were wearing down, but one thing about these guys: There's not many of them, but they've got a ton of heart," Shuford said.
Mock displayed every ounce of his heart Friday night, scoring three touchdowns in the first half on passes from JD Tuten and then adding touchdown runs of 71 and 36 yards in the second half. Mock finished with 238 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards.
Tuten's 6-yard scoring toss to Mock finished off the second quarter and capped a 54-yard drive that took less than a minute, giving the Rebels crucial points and a 28-14 lead at the break.
"It kind of went back and forth from there," Shuford said.
Tuten finished with 136 passing yards and also scored on a 1-yard run for the Rebels (6-4, 2-3). Anthony Arcuri kicked all six extra points for Thomas Heyward.
LAKE MARION 18, BATTERY CREEK 8
In a battle of teams searching for their first region win, it was visiting Lake Marion that came out on top.
The Dolphins took an 8-6 lead after one quarter. Leroy Jennette had a 37-yard touchdown pass to Darien Williams and Keena Wright ran in the conversion to put the home team ahead, but that's all the offense Battery Creek could muster.
"We just couldn't take advantage of the opportunities that were there," Battery Creek head coach Carlos Cave said.
Lake Marion (4-6, 1-4 Region 7-AAA) scored six points in the second quarter to take the lead and then tacked on its final six points in the third quarter to cap the scoring.
"We drove the ball, but we bogged down and would get a sack that would put us out of the red zone," Cave said.
"We made some stops and caused some turnovers, but they were outmanning us with the blitz in the red zone," he added.
Safety Kevin Sanders made two interceptions for the Dolphins (0-10, 0-5).
BAMBERG-EHRHARDT 53, WHALE BRANCH 8
Josh Fields' 43-yard option pass to D Delaney in the second quarter -- Fields also passed to Delaney for the conversion -- was the only time Whale Branch could find the end zone against undefeated Bamberg-Ehrhardt.
Fields finished with 60 rushing yards for the Warriors, who will play in the first round of the Class 1-A, Division II playoffs on Friday. The Warriors finished with 95 rushing yards and 82 passing yards.
Andrew Byam made nine tackles and had two sacks for Whale Branch (5-5, 2-5 Region 5-A). Trey Nelson added eight tackles and Devon Mack made six stops.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt (10-0, 7-0) had 190 rushing yards on 27 carries and had 150 passing yards. The home team led 31-8 at halftime.
BEAUFORT ACADEMY 40, FAITH CHRISTIAN 16
The Eagles ended their season on a winning note, pulling away from the visitors by outscoring them 34-0 over the second and third quarters.
Faith Christian (1-9, 0-6 SCISAA 8-man Region 2) got off to a quick start, scoring on a 60-yard punt return to take an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. The Eagles responded by scoring the next 40 points, sparked by a long punt return by senior Nathan Akers.
"It was like somebody lit a fire under them after that," Beaufort Academy coach Wheatley Alford said. "They looked at each other and said, 'We can win this thing.' "
The Eagles (3-7, 2-4) got a big night from Akers and quarterback Gibson Achurch. Akers had 138 rushing yards and a touchdown on just five carries, while Achurch was 9 for 18 passing for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 65 yards and a score.
Leif Koppernaes had 78 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and Jack Griffith had a 70-yard touchdown catch.
Defensively, freshman nose guard Jack Dailey had three sacks among his five tackles. Matthew Bass had seven tackles and a sack, and senior Ethan Kindwall made six tackles for the Eagles.
"We had a good night and a good season," Alford said.