Fort Mill football is 2-0 for the first time since 2005, and Ed Susi’s Yellow Jackets have scored 90 points in their two victories.
The competition has to be taken into consideration; White Knoll, pushed aside by 35 straight Fort Mill points in a 49-21 contest, has been blown out in both of its first two games, and Lugoff-Elgin, blanked 41-0 by the Yellow Jackets last Friday, has only won three games since the beginning of the 2011 season.
Still, it’s a promising start for a group that could be Fort Mill’s best in recent years. The Yellow Jackets travel Friday to Greenville, newly promoted from the 3A ranks, for their toughest test yet.
“They’ll be the most athletic team we’ve played so far,” said Susi. “They’ve got a lot speed and skill kids, and that’s gonna be good for us because that’s what we’ll see in our region. Hopefully, we can hang in there and keep the ball away from them.”
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Keeping the ball has been key for Fort Mill thus far. The Yellow Jackets have an area-high 492 yards rushing as a team through the first two games, led by seniors Malik Long and Chandler Kryst. The pair have combined for nearly 280 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while junior quarterback Rogan Wells and slot man Taylor Hemphill are also threats to run. Wells scored a pair of rushing TDs last weekend, including a 42-yard scamper for six points.
With the most starters returning from 2013 of any team in The Herald’s coverage area, expectations at Fort Mill were higher than usual this fall. That belief was felt within the program, too.
“They want to do something that a lot of Fort Mill schools haven’t done, make the playoffs and win in the playoffs, so we challenged them to do that this year,” said Susi, an ardent Ohio State fan. “We’re off to a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
Fort Mill last started 3-0 in 1998. That team finished 10-3, winning two playoff games before falling to Daniel in the 3A state quarterfinals.
Patterson to have Hutchinson jersey retired
Former Northwestern Trojan Cordarrelle Patterson will become the first Hutchinson Blue Dragon football player to have his jersey retired in the storied 83-year history of the Kansas junior college program.
Patterson starred at Hutchinson for two highlight-filled years before playing at Tennessee for a semester as a junior. Patterson was the 29th pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft and is entering his second year with the Minnesota Vikings, after making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner in his rookie season.
The Vikings have a bye week Nov. 8 so Patterson should be able to attend the ceremony that Hutchinson will have in his honor at halftime of its regular season finale against Independence Community College.
Patterson blossomed in Kansas, becoming only the third two-time All-American in Hutchinson’s football history. In 2011, his sophomore year, Patterson caught 61 passes for 924 yards, while accounting for another 900-plus yards on the ground and in the return game. He scored 24 touchdowns that season – 15 through the air, six rushing touchdowns and three kickoff return touchdowns.
Over the two years, Patterson scored touchdowns in 20 of the 23 games he played at Hutchinson. No other Blue Dragon football players will wear the No. 84 ever again.
Tri-County Coaches’ Association Week One award winners
Offensive Player of the Week: Rogan Wells, Fort Mill – Junior quarterback completed 14 of his 17 passes in Friday’s 41-0 win over Lugoff-Elgin, racking up 192 yards through the air. Wells also ran the ball eight times for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive player: Jamar Griffin, York – Linebacker made 10 tackles, intercepted a pass and returned a fumble 77 yards for a touchdown in the Cougars’ 27-6 win over Irmo.
Offensive lineman: Danny Warren, York – Lineman graded out at 89 percent and made a knockdown block in the Cougars’ win over Irmo.
Defensive lineman: Alan Salgado, Rock Hill – Junior d-lineman made nine solo tackles and assisted on seven more, while forcing a fumble and racking up two more tackles-for-loss in the Bearcats’ 28-20 loss to South Pointe.
Special teams player: Taylor Sheets, Fort Mill – Junior kicker hit 6 of 7 point-after attempts and bashed five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks in the Yellow Jackets’ rout of Lugoff-Elgin.
Offensive Player of the Week: Cody Montgomery, Lewisville – Senior receiver/tight end caught seven balls for 102 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions’ 46-36 loss to Blacksburg.
Defensive player: Daryl Manning, Lewisville – Sophomore linebacker made 21 total tackles in the Lions’ loss to Blacksburg, including 17 solo stops against a team that ran the ball exclusively.
Offensive lineman: Trevin Watts, Lancaster – Senior tackle graded out at 88 percent and made three pancake blocks in the Bruins’ 41-6 win over Andrew Jackson.
Defensive lineman: Brandon Sellers, Indian Land – Senior defensive end made three tackles, a quarterback sack and returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown during the Warriors’ win over Buford.
Special teams player: Shea Rodgers, Indian Land – Senior kicker made all four PAT’s, hit all five kickoffs for touchbacks and punted four times for a 40-yard average in the Warriors’ win over Buford.