The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets scored 35 unanswered first-half points putting the game away in the second quarter with four touchdowns to open the 2014 football season with a 49-21 win against the White Knoll Timberwolves.
The Jackets were part of a 10-team, three-day inaugural Battle on the Bluff with played Thursday through Saturday at River Bluff High School.
The Jackets opened the fourth quarter as senior Malik Long scored his third touchdown, 20-yarder. Fort Mill’s dynamite back rushed for 128 yards on 19 carries.
Long and fellow senior Chandler Kryst, who accounted for 120 yards (72 rushing and 48 receiving) and two touchdowns, led Fort Mill. Junior quarterback Rogan Wells threw two touchdowns and went 10-for-15 for 139 yards.
“This was step one,” Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi said. “The guys know the system works. Defensively, we started slow, but made some key steps. It’s a win and we will take it.”
White Knoll started the second half with a no-huddle offense and kept the Jackets’ defense on their toes as it pounded the ball on the ground.
Timberwolves quarterback Caleb Grubbs had a big 20-yard run to get to the Jackets’ 15-yard line. Several plays later, senior E’Mond Brown ran it in form 2 yards out to allow White Knoll to claw its way back.
Fort Mill got the ball back and kept things on the ground with Long moving the ball up the middle carrying White Knoll defenders with him. But in the end, Kryst deflated any Timberwolves’ momentum they thought they had by scoring off the left side plowing his way into the end zone.
Fort Mill started the second quarter moving the ball as Long and Wells kept the Jackets heading in a positive direction. Wells hit Kryst on a key 11-yard pass that got the Jackets into the red zone, where senior Taylor Hemphill took the ball to the 2 before Long again scored, capping a 10-play, 52-yard drive.
White Knoll tried to use what was working for Fort Mill as the Timberwolves kept the ball on the ground with Grubbs doing the majority of work from under center. That allowed the Jackets’ defense to swarm Grubbs and stop the Timberwolves, who botched a punt allowing Fort Mill to take over at midfield.
Kryst took the ball and scrambled 50-yard for a touchdown, but a penalty was called against the Jackets, calling the score back. Fort Mill had to regroup and senior Nick Chambers took the brunt of the plays on the drive giving Long a break.
However, it was Hemphill who made the most of running the ball as he would score from 17-yards out to give Fort Mill a two touchdown lead making it 21-7.
The Jackets’ defense kept the momentum going as senior Brandon Plyler picked off Grubbs pass on the Timberwolves’ next possession getting the ball to the red zone for Fort Mill.
Wells eventually hit Hemphill for his second touchdown as Fort Mill started to run away with it.
On the ensuing kickoff, White Knoll fumbled, giving the Jackets the ball back to Fort Mill. Wells then hit Kryst on the first play from scrimmage as the Jackets went for the jugular scoring on a 37-yard pass.
Fort Mill took the opening kickoff and Wells made an early mistake throwing an interception on his second pass.
White Knoll took advantage of Fort Mill’s mistake going seven plays to cash in with a 19-yard touchdown from Grubbs to Bruce Wilkinson to put the Timberwolves on the board.
Fort Mill charged back as it kept the ball on the ground during its second drive allowing Long to scramble 31-yards to get the Jackets into scoring position.
Long and Kryst kept things going on the ground before Long ran in from 1 yard out to score going 85-yards in eight plays to tie the game at 7.
Fort Mill 49,
White Knoll 21
WK – Caleb Grubbs 19-yard pass to Bruce Wilkinson (Daniel Fulmer kick)
FM – Malik Long one-yard run (Taylor Sheets kick)
FM – Long two-yard run (Sheets kick)
FM – Taylor Hemphill 17-yard run (Sheets kick)
FM – Rogan Wells 12-yard pass to Hemphill (Sheets kick)
FM – Wells 37-yard pass to Chandler Kryst (Sheets kick)
WK – E’Mond Brown two-yard run (Fulmer kick)
FM – Kryst five-yard run (Sheets kick)
FM – Long 20-yard run (Sheets kick)
WK – Maurice Jones one-yard run (Fulmer kick)