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Gamecocks run roughshod over Patriots 49-0
Making their first goal-line stand of the season on the night’s first series, the third-ranked Screven County High School’s Dirty Bird defense pitched its fourth consecutive shutout.
While the “D” took care of business, the Rooster offense was running roughshod over home-standing Westside’s defense to the tune of 14.2 yards per play en route to an easy 49-0 win over the Patriots.
Standing at 6-0 and 4-0 in region play, SCHS will host Josey Friday evening in what is the Gamecocks’ annual Homecoming contest. The school week has been filled with activities and the Oct. 20 halftime will have the crowning of a new queen.
After his team’s performance Duncan said, “We looked crisp at times offensively and we played hard. That is a tough environment to play in and it is easy to be lethargic, but we seemed excited to be playing and I think that is big as we head into the stretch run.”
With three games still remaining on their 4AA schedule, the Friday the 13th win in The Battlefield sewed up a state playoff spot for the Gamecocks, but there is still work to be done.
Not having trailed since the opening minute of the opening game back on Aug. 19, it appeared that the Roosters might be coming from behind against the home team Friday night.
Westside took the opening kick and used a 48-yard pass completion and a pair of first downs gained by penalties to reach a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line.
Three plays later, when another offside penalty on SCHS put the ball on the 6-inch line for a fourth-and-goal, it was strength against strength.
The Gamecocks were stronger as Kendrick Cox made a crushing tackle at the 1-yard line. With 4:41 to go in the opening stanza and not having touched the ball yet, only a psychic could have known that the Patriot offense was through for the night.
“The goal line stand at the beginning was big” explained Duncan. “I thought it gave our guys a sense of urgency that we have not had in a while. Then to have our offense go out and have a 99-yard drive (on the ensuing possession) was huge.”
When Kim Hunter went 54 yards on the Roosters’ first offensive play and Armani Bunbury went untouched into the end zone five plays later to culminate a 99-yard, six-play drive, Westside’s night was truly over.
Never again did the home team come close to the SCHS side of the 50-yard line. The lone first down Westside picked up the remainder of the game came on a phantom pass interference call later in the opening period.
On the night for the Patriots, there was but one first down without the aid of a penalty and 92 total yards (48 of the 92 on the one pass play and 63 of the 92 on the first drive).
“We can't give teams first downs and we gave them three of their four on penalties,” said Duncan. “One of them was an aggressive one, but the others stem from a lack of focus.”
The speed with which the Gamecock offense scored on their possessions was startling.
After the 99-yard, six-play drive, there were drives of 63 yards in two plays; 45 yards in two plays; 34 yards in one play; 54 yards in four plays; 72 yards in four plays; and 48 yards in two plays.
There was a one-play, interception-ended, drive as well.
The second team turned the ball over on downs on the fourth quarter’s local SCHS possession.
In order, the seven TDs came from Bunbury; EJ Roberson; CJ Wright; Roberson again; Kim Hunter; Tyquan Johnson on a pass from Bunbury; and Johnathan Roberts on a pass from Bunbury.
After each score, Michael Johnston was good on the PATs. For his work on the night, Johnston established a new record for consecutive PATs with 25 (22 by Adam Ivey in 1994) and career PATs with 86 (84 by Ivey 1994-96).
Bunbury also tied a pair of career records with his 27th win as a starting quarterback (Willis McCorvey) and 163 career completions (Terry Markovcic and Don Aaron, Jr.).
Offensively, there were no big rushing numbers, but there were big per carry averages.
Hunter (4-100); Bunbury (4-81); Wright (4-69); Roberson (2-45); and Gary Hawkins (1-47) all averaged 17 per carry or more.
Bunbury also threw for 65 yards. In addition to his scoring tosses of 12 to Johnson and one to Roberts, there was a 52-yard completion to Kashawn Robinson.
The offensive line of Davien Perry, Derrick Arnett, Johnston, Cooper, and Chase Barnes also deserve credit.
After the first drive, the Dirty Bird defense allowed 29 total yards on 26 snaps.
Leading the way for the defense was Robinson, who was in on 12 tackles; Cox with 11; Hawkins with nine; Determon Cooper with eight; Roberson with seven; and Keshawn Prescott and Nick Garvin with six.
The fourth consecutive shutout was the first time since 1988 the feat had been accomplished. The 1956 team is the only other to do so.
As for the team’s overall performance, Duncan said, “We cut back last week some in practice and I thought we looked fresh. We still have plenty to improve on, but hopefully we can peak at the right time. We play a physical style of football and it is easy to wear yourself down as the season progresses, so we always try and put in measures to prevent that. We can't and won't do it every week, but I think it helped us last week and hopefully will pay dividends down the road.”