SPARTANBURG — It was an encouraging loss, if there is such a thing, for the visiting team.
Rock Hill put together a second-half rally with a backup quarterback Friday night, but fell just short, 26-23, against Dorman.
The Bearcats were down, 26-7, in the third quarter, but Dylan Jones came off the bench and seemed to ignite the stalled offense. He led a touchdown drive on his first possession after replacing starter Brandon Banks and another to make it a three-point game with 6:12 to play.
Weve been kind of alternating those two guys during the preseason, Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery said. The first one started off well (7-0 lead after the first possession) and then got a little bit shaky. But hes a 10th grader and the other one is an 11th grader. I thought they both did some good things.
Rock Hill (0-1) got possession with 4:11 to play and marched down to the Cavaliers 37 with about a minute to play, but came up short on fourth down. Still, it was a marked improvement over the 38-6 loss to Dorman last season and the Bearcats left with their heads high.
We played well, Montgomery said. We had a lot of young kids and made some mistakes in the kicking game in the first half. But we got those corrected in the second half and played better. We had a chance to win. Thats what you practice for.
From where we were last year defensively, I feel much better. Were a lot better team than we had last year at this time. Its a positive measuring point to play Dorman and be in the game.
Justin Stokes led Rock Hill with 166 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. He had a 26-yard touchdown to open the scoring, a 5-yarder in the third quarter and then a 21-yarder to make it 26-23. Jones finished 12-for-22 for 81 yards. Jermaine White caught eight passes for 48 yards.
Rock Hill did very little in the first half after opening the game with a 64-yard touchdown drive. For the rest of the first half, six possessions, the Bearcats totaled just 47 yards.
Mistakes let Dorman (2-0) take control by halftime. They fumbled a punt in their own territory and committed a dead-ball personal foul, allowing the Cavaliers to set up 26 yards from the end zone. Three plays later, a 17-yard run by Shondrell Keenan made it 7-7.
Dorman had a couple of red-zone turnovers in the second quarter, but ended up getting touchdowns anyway. Rock Hill had a 1-yard punt out of its own end zone and the Cavaliers pounded in from the one with a run by Keenan.
Rock Hill fumbled a punt snap on its next possession and by the time the kicker got control, he was smothered by Dormans defense. The Cavaliers scored on one play again, this time quarterback Grayland Fowler throwing a 33-yard TD to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who hauled in the pass at the goal line against double coverage.