Rock Hill Bearcats come up empty in red zone in loss to Boiling Springs

bmccormick@heraldonline.comSeptember 20, 2013 

Boiling Springs’ defense stuffed Rock Hill on consecutive red zone fourth downs to hold on to a 28-13 win over the Bearcats on Friday night at District Three Stadium. The Bulldogs’ offense wasn’t its usual potent self, turning the ball over three times and punting five times, but Rick Tate’s defense ensured that 28 points was more than enough for Boiling Springs (3-1) to leave Rock Hill with a win.

“I’m so proud of the defense,” Tate said. “Our offense has had a lot of opportunities to cover us so far this year, and the gameplan our defensive coaches put in this week, and our kids for buying into it, I’m just tickled to death with them tonight.”

Trailing 21-7 in the third quarter, Rock Hill (1-3) was left to rue several empty trips deep into the visitors’ end. On a fourth and 3 at Boiling Springs’ 10, quarterback Brandon Banks’ run came up just short ending that drive, and his pass on a fourth and 5 at the Bulldogs’ 10 fell incomplete on the next drive. The offensive fecklessness was frustrating for coach Joe Montgomery.

“We beat ourselves,” he said. “We beat ourselves. Turnovers hurt us offensively, and we had the ball down inside the 20 a couple of times and don’t get any points out of it, and that hurt us.”

In a game where both offenses sputtered like old Edsels, Boiling Springs’ Cadillac running back Tre-Shaun Sanderlin was a difference-maker. The senior piled up 189 yards on 31 carries and wore down the Rock Hill defense, while moving the Bulldogs down the field on a night when an offense averaging 44 points per game didn’t fire on all cylinders.

“It’s nice to have him back there to give the ball to when things aren’t going exactly like you’re used to,” Tate said.

Sanderlin’s talent was on full display on his 53-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He burst through a big hole, side-stepped an over-eager safety and raced to the end zone for six points.

“The offensive line is tremendous, that just makes it easy for me to run,” Sanderlin said. “They make some big holes and after that it’s just make a man miss and you gain 10 or 15 yards.”

When Boiling Springs advanced deep in Bearcats territory, quarterback Daniel Thompson looked to 6-foot-4 tight end Collin Reed and 6-foot-6 receiver Mason Sanders as primary targets. Sanders finished with seven grabs for 96 yards and a pair of scores.

“They’ve got good offensive skill players,” Montgomery said. “They’ve got ’em.”

Sanders’ second touchdown of the night killed off any inkling of a late Bearcat comeback. After Rock Hill’s second failed fourth down in the Boiling Springs red zone, the defense stiffened and forced a punt, only for Boiling Springs’ Logan Rojas to intercept Banks on the next possession. The Bulldogs marched downfield and Thompson capped the drive with a 24-yard lob to Sanders in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown over a hapless Bearcat defensive back.

Rock Hill prettied up the scoreline when Brandon Croutch returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown as time expired. By then, Boiling Springs’ defensive unit had already changed the course of the game.

“There’s so many powerful offenses in Region 2,” said Sanderlin. “I think they’ll be able to handle the pressure. We put them in some bad situations tonight and they stepped up, stopped them.”

That the Bearcats were even in the game was largely due to an improved defensive effort and the lung-busting running of Justin Stokes. He finished with 145 yards rushing and 73 receiving, but it wasn’t enough for a Bearcat offense that was again left to rue youthful mistakes.

“For us, it’s a growing process throughout the season,” Montgomery said. “What really gets in our way right now is our own personal mistakes.”

Boiling Springs 28,

Rock Hill 13

Scoring summary

BSHS – Collin Reed 5 pass from Daniel Thompson (Drew Johnson pass to Reed)

BSHS – Tre-Shaun Sanderlin 53 run (kick failed)

RHS – Chris Salerno 7 pass from Brandon Banks (Easton Templeton kick)

BSHS – Mason Sanders 10 pass from Thompson (Johnson kick)

BSHS – Sanders 24 pass from Thompson (Johnson kick)

RHS – Brandon Croutch 55 yard punt return

Team statistics

Individual statistics

RUSHING BHS: Tre-Shaun Sanderlin 31-189, Jason Hill 2-16, Keion Page 2-4, Brandon Robinson 6-16, Daniel Thompson 4-6, Tyler Lewis 1-(-13), Delonte Richards 1(-9). RHS: Justin Stokes 17-145, Brandon Banks 16-5, Chris Salerno 1-3, Tim Sherer 1-4, Jermaine White 1-(-5).

PASSING BHS: Thompson 17-32-2-3. RHS: Banks 23-41-2-1.

RECEIVING BHS: Mason Sanders 7-96, Collin Reed 3-31, Hill 5-38, Page 1-19, Sanderlin 1-11. RHS: White 4-26, Stokes 6-73, Thailand Adams 2-3, DaChon Witherspoon 5-42, John McCullough 3-52, Antonio Hardy 1-7.

RECORDS BHS 3-1; RHS 1-3

Bret McCormick •  329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T

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