Rock Hill hosted its annual Football City USA Kickoff Jamboree at District 3 Stadium Friday night. Here’s what happened on the field.
South Pointe vs. Olympic
It didn’t look like typical South Pointe football at times. Penalties, turnovers, and other mistakes plagued the Stallions.
By the final horn, though, the Stallions looked a little more like what Football City USA has come to expect. South Pointe scored 14 unanswered points after trailing at the half, claiming a 21-10 decision over Olympic.
“Our defense played well all night. We turned the football over five times,” South Pointe coach Bobby Collins said. “If we don’t turn the football over, the defense gets a goose egg. We just can’t turn the football over. That’s a problem we’ll fix. We don’t do that.”
South Pointe fumbled on its first play of the game, setting up Olympic at the Stallion 15. The Stallions stuffed the Trojan run game on back-to-back plays. Following a five-yard completion, the Trojans could not connect on a 29-yard field goal. The home side quickly countered, marching 88 yards over eight plays and 1:51.
Caleb Sims collected the final two yards on a touchdown run, putting the Stallions ahead, 7-0, with 8:09 to play in the half.
Following a Stallion interception by D.J. Barksdale, the Trojans countered with a pick of their own, taking a Zion Martin interception 66 yards to the South Pointe 2. Devin Walker scored two plays later from a yard away, tying the game at 7 with 1:40 to play in the first half. The Trojans then capitalized on another interception, galloping 24 yards to the Stallion 16. Jared Golz scored with a 42-yard try at the horn to give Olympic a 10-7 advantage at the break.
Olympic picked off another South Pointe pass to start the second half, setting up the Trojans at their 32. South Pointe forced an Olympic punt.
The Stallions then cashed in consecutive possessions. Khy’re Rawlinson caught a 55-yard Malachi Marshall pass in stride to give the Stallions a 14-10 lead, followed by Sims’ second touchdown run of the evening that provided the final margin.
“Caleb is like the mailman. He’s gonna deliver every day,” Collins said. “What you want a senior running back to do and exhibit, he did it.”
Despite the early touchdown, the Stallions’ defense clamped down on the Trojans in the second half. Olympic’s five possessions after the half resulted in two turnovers on downs, a punt, a lost fumble, and an interception.
“A.J. Miller is doing well. C.J. Dixon, I think, is one of the best defensive tackles in the state as a junior. I’m just excited to watch those guys excel the way they do.”
Sims was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
South Pointe opens its season next Saturday night at District 3 Stadium against Gaffney.
Northwestern vs. Dutch Fork
The Northwestern Trojans, despite have dropped to Class 4A after realignment.
But the Trojans played well against perennial 5A state champion Dutch Fork for much of the game and held the lead in the second half.
The Silver Foxes proved to be too much for the Trojans in the end, however. Dutch Fork scored two rushing touchdowns and one on a fumble recovery, claiming a 21-10 win.
“We’re still 0-0. It’s not a loss,” Northwestern coach Page Wofford said after the game. “I told the team that we can’t turn the ball over, we can’t give them 15-yard penalties, and we can’t be missing people on special teams against good football teams. That’s all something we can correct, and we’ll correct it and get ready for Rock Hill next Friday night.”
Dutch Fork scored first on a methodical opening possession, taking just over seven minutes to march down the field. Jarvis Green capped the drive, plunging over the line from a yard out with 4:57 to play in the half. Northwestern answered with a long drive of its own, going 63 yards in 12 plays and slicing the margin to 7-3 on a 24-yard Caleb Rodriguez field goal.
Northwestern seized the lead on its first second-half possession, going 66 yards in eight plays. Sophomore quarterback Finley Polk found Jalen Logan from 20 yards away, giving the Trojans a 10-7 lead. Polk, who took over for graduated Mr. Football finalist Will Mattison, drew good reviews from his coach.
“I’d have to go back and watch the film, but on the surface, he looked like he played well,” Wofford said. “I don’t remember any terrible things except a missed exchange with a running back. We’ll have to get that straightened out. I think there was one incomplete pass, and that was it.”
Dutch Fork scored the game’s final two touchdowns to seal the victory. Silver Foxes quarterback Aliam Appler scored on a nine-yard rushing score with 6:32 to play, then Dutch Fork defensive end Terrence Wells returned a lost fumble 26 yards for a touchdown.
Northwestern now turns its attention to crosstown rival Rock Hill, for next Friday night’s game at District 3 Stadium.
“I’m excited about it. Coach Pittman does a great job. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his guys,” Wofford said. “They’ve got two new coordinators over there, and a new offensive scheme and new defensive scheme. It’s gonna be a whole new Rock Hill team, and I hope we’re up to the challenge.
Rock Hill vs. Byrnes
Rock Hill and Byrnes squared off in a defensive battle for much of the first half.
The visiting Rebels led 13-0 at the half after the Bearcat defense forced two punts and a turnover on downs. The combination of penalties and the Rebel offense did in the Bearcats in the second half, as Byrnes blanked Rock Hill, 27-0.
“I felt like we were a little flat tonight,” Rock Hill coach Bubba Pittman said. “It kind of felt like there were a bunch of mental mistakes. There were several penalties and we had some trouble getting guys on and off the field.
“ Those are the kinds of things you’re gonna see early on in the season. Those are the things that we talked about before the game that we wanted to eliminate, and we didn’t do that.”
Rock Hill broke off a 35-yard run on its first possession, but the Bearcat drive stalled in the Byrnes red zone. The Rebels picked off a Rock Hill pass to end the charge. Byrnes then scored first at the 7:17 mark of the first period, cashing in a short rushing touchdown.
The Bearcats punted on the ensuing possession, with Armoni Weaver grabbing the kick and sprinting 59 yards to the end zone to extend the advantage.
“We came out on the first drive and I thought the offense did a good job. We pushed the ball down the field and had a big run right there out of the gate,” Pittman said. “We didn’t finish the drive, then came back and let them score. (Byrnes) coach (Reggie) Shaw has those guys ready, and we’re not quite where we wanna be yet. We’ll come back to the drawing board on Monday and see what we can do.”
The Rebels cashed in their first two possessions of the second half to provide the final margin. Byrnes scored another short rushing touchdown, then got a 31-yard scoring strike from Andrew Stevens to Ethan Morris.
Rock Hill now shifts to preparation for Northwestern.
“Coach Wofford and those guys over there, they’re a good program and a good football team. They’ve had a lot of success over there,” Pittman said. “We’re gonna have to be a lot better than we were tonight to compete in that game. Our kids will come out, they’ll battle, and they’ll be ready. We’ve just gotta play better than we played tonight to be in that game.”
Around the region
Three other jamborees also were held in the area on Friday night.
The BIll Pate White Rose Classic unfolded at York High School featuring three area teams.
In the first contest the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets fell to Laurens 20-13.
In the second game, Clover dropped a 10-0 decision to Providence Day of Charlotte.
The York Cougars completed the evening with a 14-13 loss to Clinton.
The Gus Allen Memorial jamboree at Nation Ford High School featured two local teams. That event was delayed and shortened by rain.
The Catawba Ridge Copperheads toppled Cuthbertson 24-0 of Waxhaw, N.C.
The Copperheads got all three of their touchdowns on pass plays. Quarterback Tyler Fikis passed to Jordan Gilliam for the first one and Brady Ambrose for the second score. That made it 14-0.
The third six-pointer came when quarterback Nate Thomas found Gilliam open for another score to make it 21-0. They completed the scoring with a 30-yard field goal from Kohen Kozel.
The Nation Ford Ford Falcons closed the event with a 14- 0 loss to Porter Ridge of Indian Trail, N.C.
The Chester County jamboree was played at Chester High School with three area teams competing.
The Lewisville Lions opened the evening with a 14-0 win over Hickory.
The Lions took a 7-0 lead on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Ian Grissom to Joaquan Howze. They upped the count to 14-0 when Grissom and Howze hooked up again on a 25-yard pass play.
The Great Falls Red Devils dropped a 14-8 decision to Blacksburg in the second game.
After Blacksburg took a 7-0 lead, Great Falls countered with a score and a two-point conversion. Jaylin Sanders got the touchdown on a three-yard run and with the conversion they led 8-7. Blacksburg scored in the final minute of the session to claim the win.
The Chester Cyclones finished the annual event with a 7-7 tie with Richland Northeast.
The Cyclones, who played without six starters, fell behind 7-0 when RNE scooped up a fumble and scampered 70 yards for a 7-0 lead. Chester rallied to tie the game when Andre Evans, who filled in at quarterback, scored on a keeper.
Staff writer Sam Copeland contributed to this article.