Week 1 is crucial for any high school football program. A loss can start the season on a sour note and a win can propel a team throughout the season. For the Indian Land Warriors, so far so good as they defeated the Buford Yellow Jackets, 28-6, Friday night at Indian Land High School.
“This was a good team win,” Indian Land head coach Michael Mayer said. “This is big for us … years we got off to a start like this we have big years. We’re looking forward to big things from our kids.”
Both teams showed some early-season rust after a scoreless first quarter, but the action finally kicked in at the start of the second quarter.
Just two plays into the second quarter, Indian Land’s Chris Blakeney picked off Buford quarterback James Thompson and set the Warriors up in Buford territory.
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After missing on both his pass attempts in the opening quarter, Warriors junior quarterback Dillon Mackey found 6-foot-2 wideout Brandon Sellers for a crucial 24-yard third down conversion to move into the red zone and then found Sellers again for a 15-yard touchdown strike with 9:12 left in the half. After a Shea Rodgers kick the Warriors held a 7-0 lead.
“I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” Sellers said of the score. “The blocking set me up and I just took it to the house.”
After the score, the teams traded punts but neither side managed to put anymore points on the board before the half.
Indian Land shot out of the gates in the second half after Blakeney returned the opening kick to midfield. The Warrior offense made quick work of the drive that ended in an 18-yard keeper for Mackey for another Indian Land score and a 14-0 lead after a Rodgers PAT.
Sellers struck again later in the quarter, this time on the defensive side of the ball. On third-and-long, Buford attempted a running back screen pass, but Sellers intercepted the toss and scampered 34 yards for an Indian Land touchdown with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
“The lineman (was) in front of me, and I saw the running back slip out so I just slid in front of it,” Sellers said.
Buford answered with a quick 63-yard touchdown strike from Thompson to D.J. Stradford on a double move. The point after went wide, but the Warrior lead was cut to 21-6 with 11:49 left in the game.
However, Indian Land pushed its lead back to more than 20 points with a 9-yard touchdown run by Hosea Hameed. The extra point made the score 28-6, where it stayed until the final whistle.
Mackey led Indian land with 44 yards through the air and 82 on the ground while Hameed and Austin Gordon each had 56 yards rushing.
The Warriors (1-0) travel to Blacksburg next Friday while Buford travels to Great Falls.
“We look forward to winning every week and we just have to keep working,” Sellers said. “Hard work beats talent.”