Turnovers and penalties stalled the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets best start in nearly 30 years as they were trying to go 4-0 for the first time since 1983.
After setting a school record with 70 points last week in a win against Greenville, the Jackets came back and fell late Friday night to River Bluff 14-7 in a long game which saw nearly a two-hour delay because of lighting. Fort Mill turned the ball over three times in the game, including two fumbles, and had nine-penalties for 63-yards.
“We had a bad week of practice,” said Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi. “You have a bad week of practice, you play bad on Friday. It was a poor exhibition on our part. That wasn’t a very good display on our part.”
Fort Mill opened the fourth quarter and went on an 18-play drive that ate up nearly eight minutes off the clock, but came up empty handed as they turn the ball over on downs to River Bluff, killing their last chance to tie the game with a touchdown.
Fort Mill stopped River Bluff on the first drive of the second half and moved the ball well on offense as junior quarterback Rogan Wells hit tight end Mason Jordan on a big 28-yard pass getting the Jackets past midfield.
Seniors Chandler Kryst and Malik Long got Fort Mill within the 10-yard line, but penalties stalled the drive for the Jackets forcing a 25-yard field goal, which was missed.
Fort Mill’s defense stopped River Bluff on offense, but fumbled a punt giving it right back to the Gators. The Jackets’ frustration got to them as they were called for an unsportsmanlike penalty pushing the ball to the nine-yard line for River Bluff, where the Gators would score two plays later giving themselves the lead 14-7.
With Fort Mill threatening at the four-yard line of River Bluff after the first quarter, the weather became the real threat as the game was delayed and the stands at Bob Jones Stadium were emptied. Play resumed after an hour and 50 minutes.
On the first play after the game resumed, Wells ran the ball in from four-yards out to put the Jackets up 7-0 with kicker Taylor Sheets’ point after.
River Bluff took their opening drive of the second quarter and moved the ball well early as junior Brandon Tillmon picked up a huge gain on a 23-yard run, but the Jackets defense stopped the Gators forcing them to punt.
The punt pinned Fort Mill at the five-yard line, but Long pushed the Jackets up the field to move the chains. Wells was then picked off at the 21-yard line giving River Bluff great field position to start.
Tillmon then scrambled 20-yards on the first play and sophomore TiJuan Glenn would score on the second play of the drive to tie the game with the point after.
Fort Mill tried to bounce back. Wells made smarter passes on the drive, but stalled the drive at the River Bluff on the 27-yard line with a fumble giving the ball back to the Gators.
On the opening drive of the game, Wells took the Jackets from the 30-yard line and moved them down the field with ease. Kryst has a big 20-yard run to get Fort Mill into the red zone. River Bluff defense then stuffed Long on a couple runs. And the Jackets got called for a holding penalty pushing them back to the 25-yard line as they would come up empty on the drive.
River Bluff took the ball deep in its own territory and kept it on the ground as Tillmon had big runs of 15-yards twice picking up first downs on both occasions. However, Fort Mill got a turnover as junior Evan Stankovits stripped the ball causing a fumble, which was recovered by junior Austin Randolph.
Fort Mill got the ball near midfield and kept it on the ground again as Long pounded his way again into the Gators 20-yard line.
Kryst and Wells moved the ball into the 10-yard line where the Jackets struggled to get the ball into the end zone before the end of the first quarter.
River Bluff 14, Fort Mill 7
FM – Rogan Wells four-yard run (Taylor Sheets kick)
RB – TiJuan Glenn one-yard run (Justin Salters kick)
RB – Davon Johnson one-yard run (Salters kick)
River Bluff;Fort Mill
First downs 9;18
Passing yards 22;147
RUSHING River Bluff: Austin Pollard 6-12, Brandon Tillmon 17-118, Diante Wofford-Petruso 2-7, TiJuan Glenn 7-39. Fort Mill: Malik Long 16-89, Rogan Wells 11-21, Chandler Kryst 8-40, Taylor Hemphill 2-8, Nick Chambers 2-2, James White 1-4.
PASSING River Bluff: Brandon Tillmon 4-7-0 22. Fort Mill: Rogan Wells 17-24-1 147.
RECEIVING River Bluff: Aaron McCall 1-3, Glenn 1-14, Wofford-Petruso 1-4, Rory Vogt 1-1 . Fort Mill: Clay Helvey 2-15, Mason Jordan 2-24, Brandon Plyler 5-43, Kryst 6-40, Chambers 1-10, Long 1-9.
RECORDS River Bluff 3-1; Fort Mill 3-1.