For a while Friday night, it looked like the Boiling Springs Bulldogs’ first half lead wouldn’t be enough.
Three straight scores by Rock Hill in the first four minutes of the second half turned a lopsided score into a tight ballgame.
The No. 9 Bulldogs regained their composure and used an opportunistic defense and efficient passing game to down the Bearcats 48-23 at Bulldog Stadium.
“We told our kids at halftime that sometimes it was just as bad to be in that position, being that many points up, than being that much down,” said Bulldogs’ coach Rick Tate. “We didn’t come out ready to play and credit Rock Hill, their coaches got in there and convinced their players it was still a ball game. They came out and hit us in the mouth.”
Wide receiver and defensive back Najee Thompson, who had a big night, said “We learned that we have to come out of the locker room better. We were up 29 and happy. We have to come out better than we did.”
Rock Hill (2-2) trailed 29-0 at halftime but quickly grabbed the momentum as three touchdown connections between quarterback Logan McFadden and wide receiver Justain Patterson (45, 35 and 46 yards) shrank the lead to six points.
“That little stretch we went out and executed,” Rock Hill coach Bubba Pittman said. “Then we were back to turning the ball over and not making good plays.”
Take away that stretch of Rock Hill’s dominance and the Boiling Springs defense played well. It forced two safeties (by Dorrian Petty and Michael McDowell), six turnovers and scored on two interception returns (including a 52-yarder by Graham Derrick and a 36-yarder by Thompson).
“Our defense has made some strides in the last two weeks and we have to keep getting better,” Tate said.
Thompson caught five passes for 134 yards, including a 63-yard receiving touchdown. Quarterback Taylor Dawson finished 15-of-29 passing for 206 yards and the rushing game added 124 yards. Freshman running back Charles McFadden scored twice (one and eight yards).
“We’re getting better. We saw a lot of good things,” Tate said. “Our offense got better. We saw a ninth-grade running back get out there and show some special stuff. We caught some balls and Najee had a good game.”