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'It's a great day to be a Trojan'

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

“It’s a great day . . .

. . . to be a Trojan.”

Led by assistant coach Yogi Hickman, 39 West Brunswick football players chanted loudly in their locker room after a season-opening 35-22 victory over Socastee Friday night at M.H. Rourk Stadium.

The victory ended a 12-game losing streak—the Trojans last won a game in 2006—and inaugurated what Hickman hopes will be a long-lasting tradition.

“It’s a great day . . .

. . . to be a Trojan.”

It was a great day to be a Trojan for Ryan Hill, the senior quarterback who gained 175 yards on 10 carries and scored one memorable touchdown.

The touchdown came on his last carry, when the Trojans, leading 28-22, had the ball at their 6 with about 6 minutes, 20 seconds left. On second and 9, Hill kept the ball on an option, ran along the right sideline and broke clear of the Braves’ defense. With one defender to beat near the 30, Hill gave him two shoulder fakes and sprinted to the end zone. He dived inches inside the orange pylon to complete the 94-yard run and clinch the victory.

“I dove and hit the pylon and they called the touchdown,” Hill said. “And everybody just went crazy.”

“It’s a great day . . .

. . . to be a Trojan.”

It was a great day to be a Trojan for Alfy Hill, the 6-foot, 4-inch, 250-pound defensive end who made the first big defensive play of the game.

The Trojans had scored first on a 4-yard run by junior running back Charlie Brown just 80 seconds into the game. The score was set up by a 67-yard run on the first play of the game by junior running back Maverick Pate.

But Socastee scored on its first possession and was leading 7-6 when it lined up for a 28-yard field goal early in the second quarter. The kick was low, and Hill scrambled for the ball.

“It hit off the back of one of the other players and I just put my hands down and picked it up,” Hill said.

“I was cheesing the whole way down, smiling, my eyes closed.”

A block by Isiah Williams cleared the final path along the right sideline for Hill, and his 66-yard score put the Trojans ahead, with the two-point conversion, 14-7 with 9:49 left in the half.

“He’s 6-4, 250 pounds, and he outruns the field on that one play,” West coach Jimmy Fletcher said. “You just cannot say enough about that. That’s an amazing play by a gifted athlete.”

“It’s a great day . . .

. . . to be a Trojan.”

It was a great day to be a Trojan for Quan Bates, the 6-2, 175-pound sophomore defensive back. On Socastee’s next possession after Alfy Hill’s touchdown, the Braves had moved to the Trojans’ 34. On third-and-11, they attempted a pass.

“I got back and broke to the ball when the ball was in the air,” Bates said. The result was an interception. West took over at its 33. Two runs by Brown gained 8 and 39 yards to the 14, from where senior running back Jordan Buffkin scored. Corey Bell’s extra point put West ahead 21-7 with 5:53 left in the half.

“It’s a great day . . .

. . . to be a Trojan.”

It was a great day to be a Trojan for the defensive players. After two turnovers allowed Socastee to cut the lead to 21-19 at the half and then take the lead 22-21 on a 35-yard field goal with 1:15 left in the third quarter, the Trojan defense shut down the Braves.

“Our senior leaders stepped up, and that’s what we needed on defense,” Bates said. “Alfy Hill stepped up tremendously in the second half. We played really good as a team on defense.”

And it was a great day to be a Trojan for the offensive line. Consider the rushing totals:

Hill gained 175 yards and scored one touchdown on 10 carries.

Buffkin gained 19 yards and one touchdown on two carries.

Pate gained 122 yards and scored two touchdowns on four carries.

Brown gained 112 yards and scored one touchdown on 16 carries.

In all, West rushed for 428 yards.

“We’ve really looked good up front the whole preseason, and we dominated again tonight,” Fletcher said. “They were actually putting an extra guy in the box and we still were able to run the football.”

“It’s a great day . . .

. . . to be a Trojan.”

In the locker room, Fletcher, in his sixth season, walked from locker to locker and shook every player’s hand. He marveled at the way this team played in the second half, outscoring Socastee 14-3 for the victory.

“I don’t know since I’ve been here when we put together a perfect half, and that was as close as perfect, on offense and defense,” he said. “It was great effort by those kids.”

He was still wet from the celebratory water bath received on the sideline in the final seconds. And he was still smiling.

“It is a great feeling,” he said. “It is a GREAT feeling. They haven’t won in so long.”

NOTES

The game ball went to Principal George Kelley, whom West coach Jimmy Fletcher praised for his support of Trojan athletics.

* * *

West Brunswick was penalized seven times (55 yards). It fumbled twice. One pass was intercepted, as the end of the first half.

* * *

The Trojans’ next game is 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against North Myrtle Beach.

“North Myrtle Beach is a totally different offense from Socastee,” Fletcher said. “They’re going to throw it 70 times a game, and the thing we have to do is we have to control the football.

“Tonight, in the second half, we controlled the clock and we controlled the ball. That’s something we’re going to have to do. They’re a great offensive team and they’re going to score points. So we have to do the same thing.

* * *

The Trojan JV lost 14-6 to Socastee Aug. 28.

West’s only score was a pass from freshman quarterback Cameron Smith to sophomore receiver James Ash.

In their last two possessions, the Trojans fumbled twice.

“The defense did some really good things,” Fletcher said. “(Lineman) Billy Bopst played really well. I thought (lineman) Darius James did some really good things. Aaron Hankins played really well at tailback and at linebacker. And Zach Ledue did some really good things at fullback and at linebacker.”

MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at sports@brunswickbeacon.com.