One might expect a defending state champion with offensive linemen that look like they could block the sun to lean on the running game in the postseason.
The Byrnes Rebels, however, haven't won three state titles in four years running "three yards and a cloud of dust."
Byrnes quarterback Shuler Bentley threw five of his six touchdown passes in the first half to ignite a 58-21 victory against Rock Hill in Class AAAA-Division I playoff action Friday.
"We didn't play well in the first half," Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery said. "We got behind, and it landslided from there. But our kids didn't quit. I'm proud of how they played in the second half."
Never miss a local story.
Byrnes (10-2) built a quick 10-0 lead after a 34-yard field goal by Kaleb Patterson and a 69-yard touchdown pass from Bentley to Colton Korn.
The Rebels recovered the ensuing onside kick. Rock Hill's A.J. McNeil threatened to stall the drive with a sack, but Bentley found a wide-open Akia Booker for a 47-yard score on third-and-22. Byrnes had a 17-0 lead with 6 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
Rock Hill (5-7) finally started a sustained drive, but that ended abruptly with a 44-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Jamaal Johnson before the end of the first quarter.
Byrnes opened the second quarter with a 65-yard interception return by Shane Samuels en route to a 51-0 halftime lead.
Booker finished with seven catches for 167 yards and five touchdowns. The Rebels will face Summerville next week.
Rock Hill broke the shutout in the third quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Corey Wessinger to Tre Thompson, and Dre Williams added a 78-yard catch-and-run for a score. Wessinger capped his three-touchdown night with a 11-yard pass to Jamel Jones.
The Bearcats lose 13 seniors, including Wessinger, Shrine Bowl-bound Mitchell Jeter and backup quarterback Kenterius Hinton. Jones is among those who return.
"We've been through some adversity," Montgomery said. "We've got 13 seniors, and they helped us make the playoffs. We knew it would be difficult playing against other teams that had 30, 35 seniors."
BYRNES 58, ROCK HILL 21
B-Kaleb Patterson 34 field goalB-Shuler Bentley 69 pass to Colton Korn (Patterson kick)B-Bentley 47 pass to Akia Booker (Patterson kick) B-Jamaal Johnson 43 fumble return (Patterson kick)B-Bentley 4 pass to Booker (Patterson kick) B-Bentley 40 pass to Booker (Patterson kick)
B-Skip Barnes 25 interception return (Kick failed)B-Bentley 36 pass to Booker (Patterson kick)RH-Corey Wessinger 12 pass to Tre Thompson (John David Raad kick)B-Bentley 13 pass to Booker (Patterson kick)
RH-Wessinger 78 pass to Dre Williams (Raad kick)RH-Wessinger 11 pass to Jamel Jones (Raad kick)
RUSHING -- ROCK HILL: Kenterius Hinton 8-35, Jonathan Adams 4-4, Alec McCoy 5-3, Wessinger 7-1, Justin Stokes 1-5. BYRNES: Shakeem Wharton 5-17, Bentley 2-(-8), Bryan Bailey 1-13, Korn 1-7, Travis Thomas 1-3, Shaedon Meadors 1-0, Jaquann Waters 2-(-3).
PASSING -- ROCK HILL: Wessinger 22-35-2, 268 yards, Hinton 1-2-0, 3 yards. BYRNES: Bentley 20-32-0, 381 yards, Bailey 2-2-0, 14 yards, Korn 0-2-0, 0 yards.
RECEIVING -- ROCK HILL: Williams 3-113, Jamel Jones 5-36, Thompson 5-58, Jaleel Scott 8-40, Adams 1-13, Zac Cunninhgam 1-13. BYRNES: Korn 6-139, Booker 7-167, Greg McHam 2-13, Tavin Richardson 3-21, Tyrell Parker 2-41, Trey Barron 2-14.
RECORDS: Rock Hill 5-7, Byrnes 10-2