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Big plays lead Gamecocks over Knights on Homecoming
With all five of their scoring plays longer than 40 yards, the unbeaten and sixth-ranked SCHS Gamecocks left the visiting Windsor Forest’s Knights in the proverbial rear view window Sept. 18 in a 32-0 Homecoming victory at Kelly Memorial Stadium.
With the non-region schedule now done, the Roosters will welcome Jefferson County’s Warriors here this Friday night in the Region 3AA lidlifter for both teams.
Was speed the difference?
“I think it was a factor,” said SCHS head coach Ron Duncan of all the big plays against Windsor Forest. “But they are young also, but running a new system. We are very young, but our young men have been running basically the same system since middle school.”
For the fourth straight game, the Red and White took a lead with their first possession.
On Friday night, that was the game’s opening possession and it took 2:28 off the clock, while the home team put up 80 yards of offense on the stat sheet.
Sophomore QB Armani Bunbury raced 50 yards on an option keeper for the contest’s first score. Senior Tyler Owens was true with the PAT and the score was quickly 7-0.
Bunbury went on to finish his night in the third quarter, as did the rest of the No. 1 Rooster offense, while putting up some very impressive numbers.
Carrying the ball, Bunbury had five totes for 130 yards and two scores, while through the air he was 5-8-1 for 127 yards and two scores. His other scoring run was 69 yards on the team’s second possession, while his TD passes were of 43 and 42 yards, both to junior JaTarri Tanksley.
Only senior Jermany Hawkins had a touchdown not involving Bunbury, but Hawkins did take the handoff from Bunbury before his 43-yard scoring gallop in the second quarter. Owens added one more PAT on the night.
While the Gamecock offense was in high gear -- though it did twice turn the ball over in the first three quarters, the defense stood up to the college-size offensive line of the Knights and held them to 69 total yards on 34 plays.
Only twice did the visitors step back to pass, once a sack by Eric Hayward ensued, while the other time a hurried pass fell harmlessly out of bounds. In four games, now the Dirty Bird D has allowed just 363 total yards on 168 plays -- just 2.2 yards per play.
A running clock for the majority of the second half combined with the Windsor Forest two-tight, full house Wishbone offense (which never stopped the clock) and the propensity for long scoring plays limited SCHS to just 31 total plays and 378 total yards.
“We had intentions to work our spread game for another series or so,” explained Duncan, “but they asked for a running clock (when the deficit reached 30 points). We had some running backs banged up and didn’t want to run them with the game pretty much in hand.”
Nine different backs had at least one carry with none touching the ball more than Bunbury’s five.
Malik Prescott had three carries for 23 yards, while Hawkins had just two for 55 yards. Fullbacks CJ Wright and Bruce Smith combined for five carries. Other backs recording carries were Tanksley, Kashawn Robinson, Kim Hunter, and Deonte Simmons.
On the receiving end of Bunbury’s tosses were -- in addition to Tanksley’s pair of scoring receptions, Tyqyan Johnson with 1 for 15; Alex Whatley with one for 16; and JT Hodges with one for 11.
Defensively, the Dirty Birds were led by Richmond Whitfield, who was in on 11 tackles; Hawkins with 10; Xavier Sheppard with eight; and Kevin Walker with seven.
Asked to summarize the effort, Duncan concluded, “We did some things well … but we struggled upfront and have to get better in a hurry.”