COLUMBIA -- It might be a stretch to say that the season opener for a second-year program could catapult it to greater heights.
But that's just what South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll thought after the Stallions knocked off perennial power Irmo 13-10 on Friday at W.C. Hawkins Stadium.
"This is a monumental win for our program," Carroll said. "To come here and beat a team the caliber of Irmo is unbelievable for a team as young as we are. This win could definitely have a carryover effect."
The Stallions did it with a running game that was just a bit better than the Yellow Jackets' on the hot, muggy evening that saw cramps play a role on both sides. South Pointe rolled up 401 yards on the ground on an Irmo team that is normally known for its defense.
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"We're young in places, and we aren't used to seeing teams do that to us," Irmo coach Bob Hanna said. "But give South Pointe credit. They came in with a great game plan and executed it well."
Stallions quarterback Stephon Gilmore did most of his damage in the opening half. The junior had scoring runs of 64 and 51 yards to give the Stallions all the points they needed. He ran for 181 yards in the first half alone but finished the game with 178 yards on 14 carries because of suffering from cramps.
The Yellow Jackets pulled within 13-10 late in the third quarter but never really had a chance to tie or take the lead thanks to the Stallions holding the ball for the first 10 minutes of the final quarter.
With Gilmore injured, bruising running back Devin Wherry did the bulk of work. He ran for 169 yards on 30 carries for the Stallions.
"That's a pretty good one-two punch they have," Hanna said. "Gilmore and Wherry are as good as we will see this year."
Irmo's final chance was ended when it was called for an illegal forward pass on a fourth-down play with just under a minute remaining.
The Stallions held a 13-7 halftime lead that could have been bigger if it weren't for miscues inside the red zone. They moved inside the Yellow Jackets' 20-yard line on two first-half possessions but only came away with one score.
Gilmore opened the scoring on the fourth play of the game on a 64-yard run. He had South Pointe poised to build on the lead on its third series.
Grayson Hutson's interception in the end zone halted that drive. On their next possession, the Stallions later drove to Irmo's 17, but Ricky Nickles intercepted a Gilmore pass.
The Yellow Jackets gave that one right back when Mike Gaither intercepted Hill at midfield on the next offensive play. Gilmore made them pay when the Stallions caught Irmo with nine players on the field. He ran around the left end and after breaking a tackle at the 35-yard line and finished off a 51-yard scoring jaunt.
The Yellow Jackets finally got on the board, thanks again to a little help from South Pointe. The Stallions were called for a roughing-the-passer penalty on third down to extend the drive. On the next play, Hill made them pay when he connected with Nathan Dorton on a 52-yard scoring play.
Irmo sophomore Musta Greene had 129 yards on 22 carries, but two fumbles and two interceptions halted a couple of scoring chances.
"I thought we had opportunities to put points on the board and just didn't," Hanna said. "I think we learned a lesson from this, and hopefully we can come back and play better than this."
South Pointe 7 6 0 0 -- 13
Irmo 0 7 3 0 -- 10
South Pointe 13