A fourth down stand by the Brookland-Cayce Bearcats defense preserved a 14-7 win over the Lower Richland Diamond Hornets in a Region 5-3A contest Friday, October 7.
“They had an excellent game plan,” Brookland Cayce head coach Rusty Charpia said of the Diamond Hornets. “It was so eerie. It reminded me of Strom Thurmond last year. They decided they were going to take as much time off the clock, settle for two and three-yard gains, and try to take it down to the last minute, which they did. We were just fortunate. We were going to put it away earlier, but we fumbled. They had a great game plan and I think they played a little harder than us tonight. We were just lucky.”
The defensive struggle began on the opening possession when Lower Richland started from its 43. Jamell Myers rushed twice for three yards, and Marcus Smith rushed two more times for 11 yards to move the ball to the Bearcats’ 43. A penalty against Brookland-Cayce pushed it to the 38. After a run by Smith yielded nothing, Lamarion Pearson toted the rock four consecutive times for eight yards. An incomplete pass by Smith on fourth down turned the ball over to Brookland-Cayce.
The Bearcats began at their 30 and immediately went to the air with a 31-yard pass from Tanner Staton to Evan Golden. De’Shawn Washington then ran twice for ten yards to the Lower Richland 29. A holding penalty moved the ball back to the 40. Naahzeikiel Mays then rushed twice for five yards, and Washington had a 3-yard carry. However, Staton was dropped for a 6-yard loss on fourth down to turn the ball over to Lower Richland.
The Diamond Hornets took over at their 38 and went backwards on their first two plays, losing four yards on a run by Pearson and two more on a Smith pass to Mekhi Campfield. Then Smith connected with Pearson for a 13-yard pass to set up a fourth-and-short. Smith found Ty Washington-Hunt for a 10-yard gain and a first down. After a run by Smith yielded no gain, he connected with Tiquee Jones for nine yards and Campfield for 14, along with a 10-yard quarterback run, to get the ball to the Brookland-Cayce 12. Myers then had three rushes for ten yards to the two. Pearson capped off the 12-play, 62-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to put Lower Richland ahead 7-0 with 9:43 left in the second quarter.
Brookland-Cayce began its next possession at its 33. A 2-yard run by Washington and an incomplete pass by Staton set up third-and-8 for the Bearcats. Staton converted the third down with a 10-yard pass to Mays. Washington followed with a 10-yard run to get the ball to the Lower Richland 45. A 3-yard run by Mays and 3 and 4-yard runs by Will Young got the ball to the 35. Staton ran for eight yards to the 27, before Mays took the ball down the right sideline for a 27-yard touchdown run to tie the score 7-7 at halftime.
Brookland-Cayce started the third quarter with the ball at its 33. Washington carried the ball twice for 11 yards, Mays got one carry for eight, and Golden had one rush for three yards to move the ball to the Lower Richland 45. A holding penalty on the next play set the ball back to the Bearcats’ 43, before Washington responded with a 10-yard run. Staton then found Jackson Thomas for a 33-yard pickup to the Diamond Hornets’ 14. Mays rushed to the 10, before a holding penalty moved it back to the 18. Young scampered to the 5. Staton covered four yards in two runs to the 1. Washington barreled into the end zone from a yard out to give Brookland-Cayce a 14-7 lead with 7:45 left in the third quarter.
Then the game was left in the hands of the two defenses. Lower Richland tried to respond on its next drive, which began at its 38. Pearson ran four times in the first five plays to move the ball to the Brookland Cayce 38. Smith ran for six yards, Myers for five, and then Pearson gained six as the Diamond Hornets got to the 21. An 11-yard pass from Smith to Jones moved the ball to the 10. From there, Pearson tried to run it in but came up short on four rushing attempts to turn the ball over to Brookland-Cayce.
The Diamond Hornets would have one last shot after recovering a fumble at their 20. Smith got the drive started with a 6-yard run. Myers rushed four times for 26 yards to the Lower Richland 48. Then it was Pearson’s turn to tote the rock, doing so four times for 18 yards to the Bearcats’ 34. After Smith was tackled for a 1-yard loss, Pearson was given the ball again. He gained 24 yards on three attempts, moving the ball to the 11. Smith then scrambled for an 8-yard gain. A 2-yard loss by Pearson moved it back to the 5. He gained a yard back on third down to set up a fourth-and-goal with 32 seconds remaining. Smith rolled to his right, but his pass to the end zone fell incomplete and B-C held on for the win.
“We gave up seven points tonight. Last week we only gave up seven,” Charpia said. “We had to make a little adjustment a couple of weeks ago, and I think they’re finally picking it up. There is still a lot of room for improvement.”
Brookland-Cayce amassed 331 yards, 229 rushing and 102 passing. Staton completed 5-of-9 passes for 102 yards. Mays rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Washington rushed for 63 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Golden caught two passes for 48 yards.
Defensively, Brookland Cayce was led by Benjamin Pough who had eight solo tackles, six assists, and a tackle for loss. Jadyn Johnson had six solo tackles, three assists, and a tackle for loss, and William Young had five solo tackles, an assist, and a pass breakup.
The Bearcats improve to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the region. Brookland-Cayce will host the Dreher Blue Devils Friday, October 14.
“I know we’ve gotten better, but I’m not sure we are where we need to be yet,” Charpia said. “If we play like we did tonight, we can easily get beat. If we play like we play in the second half at Orangeburg or the first half against Chapin we can play with anybody. All I know is we keep trying, try to stay positive, and hopefully, all good players and teams find it themselves; some do and some don’t.”
Lower Richland’s Marcus Smith completed 8-of-10 passes for 75 yards. He also rushed for 41 yards on nine carries.
Pearson rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Jones caught four passes for 35 yards.
The Diamond Hornets amassed 266 yards of offense, 191 on the ground and 75 through the air.
Defensively, Tedric Brunson led the way for Lower Richland with four solo tackles and five assists. Salaytheo Washington Jr. had five solo tackles and three assists. He also had one interception.
Lower Richland falls to 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the region. The Diamond Hornets will travel to Swansea on October 14.