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West Brunswick scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes, 18 seconds of the first half—including a 45-yard pass from Quan Bates to Thomas Reaves on the last play of the first half—and went on to beat South Brunswick 41-16 in the opening game of the Waccamaw Conference football season Monday night at M.H. Rourk Stadium.
West (4-1 overall) had three turnovers in the first half—two fumbles and a pass interceped by Terrell Stanley—but the game was still scoreless late in second quarter because of West’s defense—Brian Lewis and Kendrick Morgan had recovered fumbles.
“The first quarter was about ugly as you can play football,” West coach Jimmy Fletcher said. “But our defense played wonderfully. The first half we stayed backed up and they stayed inside our 50—and we kept them out of the end zone.”
With 2:34 left in the second quarter, South called a timeout before it punted from its 23. When play resumed, West’s punt rushers blocked the punt (South’s starting punter was playing in a soccer game) and the Trojans took over at the Cougar 12. On first down, West quarterback Quan Bates ran to his right and scored.
“The line blocked good,” Bates said. “It was actually designed for a pass play, but I did not see anyone open. So I just took off and ran right.”
Corey Bell kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
West forced South into another punting situation in the final minute. The punt rush forced a hurried punt, and the Trojans took over at the South 38 with 36.5 seconds left.
A reverse by Markel Jones gave West a first down at the South 27. The Cougar defense then sacked Bates, and a penalty moved the ball to the 45. On the last play of the half, Bates threw a pass to Thomas Reaves, who was running a sideline route. Reaves caught the pass and scored with no time left. Bell’s extra point put West ahead 14-0 at the half.
“The line protected real good again,” Bates said, “I knew I had the receiver one-on-one with his man, and I just let it go for a touchdown.”
Fletcher said there “was a lot of confusion” on the final three plays of the half.
“We ran a reverse pass,” he said “and we had a freshman who didn’t throw it and tried to run it.
“So then we called for a fade, but our receiver misunderstood the play and he ran off the field, so we didn’t have enough people and (Bates) got sacked.
“Then we just called fade, and we were fortunate enough to get it off. Quan threw a great ball and Thomas made a nice catch.”
West dominated the second half, scoring on its first possession. West defensive back Bruce Clewis broke up a third-down pass to force South to punt on its first possession, and after a short punt West took over at the South 36. Five plays later, Maverick Pate gained 26 yards to the 1. From there, Bates scored. Bell’s extra point put West ahead 21-0 with 6:40 left in the quarter.
Bell’s kick into the end zone forced South to begin its next possession at the 20. The West defense forced a punt, and on first down for the South 28 Bradley Bell scored. Bell’s extra point put West ahead 28-0 with about five minutes left in the quarter.
On the Cougars’ next possession, a pass rush by Alfy Hill and Kendrick Morgan disrupted a pass attempt by South from its 31, and that led to a punt attempt. A.J. Daniel slammed into the punter and Markel Jones recovered the loose ball. He ran into the end zone untouched. Bell’s extra point made the score 35-0 with 2:58 left in the quarter.
South scored it first touchdown on a 5-yard run by Rashen Bellamy with 4:54 left. The score was set up by his 45-yard run from the South 15 and a 25-yard run by sophomore Gary Williams. Bellamy scored on the two-point conversion to make the score 35-8.
The Cougars attempted an onside kick, by Alfy Hill added another clip to his highlight reel. The short kick bounced into his hands and he ran untouched along the left side for a touchdown with 4:43 left.
The Cougars scored on their ensuing possession, when Williams fought off a defender to catch a 34-yard pass from Jonathan Marvin. Bellamy’s two-point conversion were the final points.
For South, Bellamy gained 49 yards, Kenneth White 30 yards, Williams 20 and Marcus Hankins 15 yards.
South (2-3) plays a homecoming game Friday against West Bladen.
“We lost to a good football team,” South coach Roman Kelley said. “We shot ourselves in the foot again. We had the advantage in the first half but could not do anything with it. We had a muffed punt and then a blown coverage on a pass play and it was 14-0 at the half.
“Things snowballed. We have to find a way to stop that snowballing. We have a short week, and we now have to concentrate on West Bladen. Hopefully, we can come out with a victory.”
For West, Maverick Pate gained 63 yards. West plays on Friday at North (2-3).
“This is a good win and a conference win,” Bates said. “We just have to keep coming out and doing what we do and not let up on anybody.”