The first quarter of the Fort Mill-Rock Hill matchup was enough to cause whiplash.
In a span of a little more than four minutes starting at the 9:43 mark, both teams scored two touchdowns a piece, the highlights being a 65-yard Fort Mill run to set up the game’s first score and an 80-yard Rock Hill kick return for a touchdown to cap off the barrage.
While the big plays persisted in the second quarter, it was completely one-sided. Entering the quarter with a three-point lead thanks to a Zhenya Deller field goal late in the first, the Bearcats struck with a bruising running attack that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by Narii Gaither. Less than four minutes later, linebacker Devardo Williams disrupted a Fort Mill handoff, snatched the ball from Yellow Jackets quarterback Ryan Daluca, and returned it for a 79-yard touchdown. The Bearcats scored again before the end of the half on a five-yard reception from quarterback Logan McFadden to senior receiver Qua Brice.
Fort Mill put two second half touchdowns on the board but the comeback attempt fell far short, yielding the Bearcats their second win of the season and dropping the Yellow Jackets to 3-5
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Freshman defensive back Anthony Jackson changed the tone of the first half, picking off Deluca late in the first quarter before the Yellow Jackets answered for a third offensive score. The interception led to the Deller field goal which gave Rock Hill its first lead of the night. That lead swelled to 27 before Fort Mill scored again in the waning seconds of the third quarter.
Turnovers were a grave problem for Fort Mill with each first-half blunder leading to a Rock Hill score. Two interceptions and a fumble helped change what was a tight game early in the first quarter to a 20-point Bearcat win.
Junior Desmond Buchanan and sophomore Narii Gaither combined for 135 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Buchanan also contributed 42 receiving yards, while Gaither made an appearance on defense and recorded a big sack midway through the fourth on a Fort Mill fourth down.
Both teams will play their final home games of the season Oct. 21, with Rock Hill hosting Clover and Fort Mill welcoming Dorman.
Rock Hill 48, Fort Mill 28
FMH-Ryan Heriot 3 run (Kyle Romenick kick) 9:43
RHHS-Desmond Buchanan 12 run (Zhenya Deller kick) 7:32
FMHS-Ethan Piercy 46 yard pass from Ryan Deluca (Romenick kick) 6:11
RHHS- Nick Truesdale 80 kick return (Deller kick) 5:58
RHHS- Deller 23 kick 2:28
RHHS-Narii Gaither 1 run (Deller kick) 6:36
RHHS-Devardo Williams 82fumble return (Deller kick) 2:56
RHHS-Qua Brice 5 pass from McFadden (Deller kick) 41.8
RHHS-Deller 31 kick 4:44
FMHS-Gus Jarosz 3 run (Romenick kick) 45.6
RHHS-Gaither 3 run (Deller Kick) 10:42
FMHS-Deluca 1 run (Romenick kick) 3:08