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BLADENBORO—The West Brunswick High School football team will play South Columbus for an unbeaten conference championship Friday night at West.
The Trojans, 5-0 in the Waccamaw Conference and 5-4 overall, routed winless West Bladen 41-13 Friday night and clinched a tie for the conference championship.
Tailback Markel Jones rushed unofficially for 128 yards and scored four touchdowns and fullback Khalil Gause rushed unofficially for 170 yards and scored a touchdown. Each has surpassed 1,000 yards rushing this season.
“We talked about it a little bit,” Fletcher said. “We tried not to jinx it. That’s awesome. That’s a compliment to your offensive line and to those two kids. That’s unbelievable.”
Quarterback Dustin Darguzas scored the first touchdown on a 16-yard run. He gained unofficially 76 yards rushing.
“He’s gotten better and better and better as the weeks have gone on,” Fletcher said. “Tonight I thought he read the option as good as he’s done all year. And that’s just him working every day in practice.”
Touchdowns runs of 12 yards and 7 yards in the third quarter by Jones put West ahead 41-13 and clinched the victory. The Trojans played substitutes in the fourth quarter and ran the play clock down to 5 seconds before snapping the ball. Tavon Stanley intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.
But the first half was close up to the final seconds—and then some—as West built a 28-13 lead.
An interception by Gary Darling at midfield set up the Trojans’ first score, the 16-yard run by Darguzas.
The Knights scored on its ensuing possession on a 7-yard run by the quarterback. The Trojans blocked the kick and led 7-6 with 7:22 left in the half.
The Trojans took a 14-6 lead on its next possession. Gause carried the ball six straight times as West moved the ball from midfield to the Knights’ 3. Two plays later, Markel Jones scored. Daniel Locklear’s PAT ended the 80-yard drive with 2:46 left in the quarter.
Another West Bladen turnover set up the Trojans’ next score. Hunter Howard recovered a fumble at the Knights’ 35 with 13.8 seconds left in the quarter. On first down, Jones scored on a 35-yard run with 4.8 seconds left in the quarter.
Locklear’s PAT put the Trojans ahead 21-6.
“For a while, we’re a score ahead and I’m just stressing,” Fletcher said. “It was close. Going into the game we did a few things to take their pass away and they ended up running it. And then we ended up having to take the run away.”
Each team scored once in the second quarter. The Knights had the ball for the first 6:18 of the quarter before scoring on a short run.
West scored on its first possession of the quarter. I’Jaime Daniels returned the ball to midfield. Three straight penalties, one which nullified a score, left West with possession at the Knights’ 37. Gause then scored on the next play. Locklear’s PAT gave West a 28-13 lead with 5:22 left in the half.
The play of the game occurred on West’s possession in the final minutes of the half. Jones, from the Knights’ 42, reversed field twice and scored a touchdown—but a block-in-the back penalty nullified the score. The penalty was one of 12 called against the Trojans in the first half. West was stopped on downs at the Knights’ 26 with 32 seconds left.
West Bladen completed two passes and, aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty as time expired, had possession at the 12 for an untimed down. The Knights attempted a pass but it was incomplete, leaving the Trojans ahead 28-13.
“We got a little frustrated there where we scored probably four times and they called them all back,” Fletcher said, referring to some other penalties. “I told them at halftime there’s nothing you can do about officiating. If you have to score six times for one, that’s what we got to do.
“I thought it was big scoring another time before halftime. And keeping them out of the end zone before halftime—that was big.”
The Trojans dominated the second half en route the victory.
“We were a little shaky at first,” Fletcher said. “We made a couple of adjustments, and I think we did a good job.
“It’s tough to come up here and make your own excitement, but I think the kids a good job with that.
“You want to be 6-0 and go into the playoffs with a good momentum. Now it’s a chance to go play for a conference championship.”
All season, the team has marked off its conference victories on a chart.
“It’s like we’re climbing the steps to being 6-0,” Fletcher said. “We marked off West Bladen this week and, hopefully, we can do it with South next week.”
West JV 4-1 in conference
The West junior varsity football team beat West Bladen 46-34 Oct. 18. This improves the team’s record to 4-1 in the conference.
Tayevonne Stanley had one touchdown and three two-point conversions. Peyton Tipton had one touchdown and one two-point conversion. Jiaire Gamble had two touchdowns. Tavon Stanley had two touchdowns. Dylan Howard completed a pass to Nasir Murray for another two-point conversion. Tayevonne Stanley also had an interception.
“The JVs really played a great game last night,” Chris Orrock said. “They showed a lot of sportsmanship during and after the game. The players and coaches are really doing a great job this year.”
The team’s last game in this conference will be Oct. 25 at South Columbus.