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South Columbus beat West Brunswick 44-14 in a non-conference high school football game Friday, Sept. 13, in Shallotte.
The Stallions scored 22 straight points in the first half in taking a 22-8 lead and then scored twice in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory.
South Columbus entered the game 0-2, the first time since the school opened in 1992 that it had lost its first two games. The Stallions had lost 32-6 to Loris, S.C., and 34-19 to Hoggard.
West, which suffered injuries in the second half to two offensive linemen, is 0-3 and plays on Friday, Sept. 20, at unbeaten North Brunswick.
Against the Stallions, West scored the first points on a safety when a high snap on a South Columbus punt attempt was kicked out of the end zone.
On the ensuing possession, West took over at its 43 and moved to the Stallions’ 40 before having to punt. A Stallion player mishandled the punt and West regained possession at the 9. Two players later, Tavon Stanley scored on a run, and that gave West an 8-0 lead with 6 minutes, 40 seconds left in the quarter.
South Columbus then scored three touchdowns in taking a 22-8 lead at halftime.
The first score came on a seven-play, 57-yard drive that ended on an 8-yard run. A two-point conversion tied the score 8-8 with 3:55 left in the quarter.
The Stallions’ next score was a 59-yard punt return. The ball bounced once to the returner, who ran along the right sideline for the score. The two-point conversion gave South Columbus a 16-8 lead with 2:04 left in the quarter.
The Stallions scored on their next possession, converting a fourth-down pass for a 54-yard touchdown with 8:52 left and taking a 22-8 lead.
On its ensuing possession, West drove to the Stallion 6 but a pass was intercepted with 4:09 left. South Columbus then drove to the West 15, but was unable to score in the final minute after Sean Hewett broke up two passes and Gary Darling broke up another.
Each quarterback threw back-to-back interceptions on four straight series in the third quarter. Gary Darling intercepted the two Stallion passes.
The Stallions scored the first points of the quarter after a punt return for a score was nullified because of a penalty. Taking over at the West 20, the Stallions advanced in three plays to the inside the 1 and then scored. The two-point conversion gave South Columbus a 30-8 lead with 5:53 left in the quarter.
West scored its final points on its ensuing possession. Starting at its 46, West used 13 plays in a drive that ended on an 18-yard run by Stanley. The score cut the lead to 30-14 with 53.2 seconds left in the quarter.
South Columbus scored on its next possession. The 10-play drive covered 58 yards and ended on a 3-yard run with 7:43 left in the game. An interception that was returned to the 15 set up the final score, a 12-yard run with 4:37 left.
The West junior varsity beat South Columbus 42-36 Thursday, Sept. 12, in Tabor City, its first victory of the season.
“We are very proud of our JV football team,” West coach Scott Frazier said. “It was a highly competitive contest. Both teams played hard for the entire game and the outcome was in question until the very last possession.
“All of our players came together for the win, many of whom played unfamiliar positions as they filled in for teammates who were out. However, a few players stood out in their efforts. On offense, the tandem of Jiaire Gamble and Anthony McCray were truly impressive.”
Gamble and McCray gained more than 300 yards rushing. McCray scored three touchdowns and Gamble two.Tariq Thomas returned a punt for a touchdown. “Defensively, the unit got better as the game went on and came up with key stops for us in the fourth quarter,” Frazier said. “Shane McKenzie provided some critical tackles from his safety position.
“Numerous players throughout the game played both ways for us, some having to fill in at spots that were new to them during the game.
The game ended dramatically. Down a score with fewer than 3 minutes left, West had a fourth-and-2 from its 35. On a toss sweep, McCray ran 65 yards for the go-ahead score.
On South Columbus’ ensuing possession, the Stallions gained a first down in West’s territory, but on third-and-8, Thomas intercepted a pass in the final minute to clinch the victory.
“Coaches Sam Hanks, Jordan Lancaster, Mark Jones, Paul Saah, Willie Williams, Brandon Rankin and Matt Holt all did a fantastic job coaching the kids and adjusting during the game,” Frazier said.