The Hillcrest Rams used a 21-point second quarter to pull away from the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets in the first round of the 5A football playoffs winning 40-14 Friday night.
Fort Mill (4-7) finished fourth in Region 4, while Hillcrest (9-2) won Region 2 and had the advantage of playing at home to open the 5A playoffs. The Jackets came into the game looking for their first football playoff win since 1998.
Hillcrest wasted no time in scoring as they went up just five plays into the game on a one-yard touchdown run. The Rams’ first play from scrimmage was a 43-yard pass from quarterback Will Watts to Trey Adkins.
The Jackets came right back to score when quarterback JT Marr hit Ryan Heriot for a big gain that took them over the 50-yard line. Fort Mill scored on a Shayne Boyle run and took the lead on a two-point conversion. Hillcrest responded with a score on the next series as the two teams combined for 20 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.
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Hillcrest’s defense kept pressure on Marr for most of the first half. After getting down by 20, Fort Mill struggled to move the ball on offense and the Hillcrest’s offense was able to spread the Jackets’ defense out across the field.
Midway through the second quarter a pass from Fort Mill’s Marr deflected off JaMarcus Robinson for an interception. Hillcrest returned the ball 67-yards for a touchdown to put the Rams up 34-14.
“The interception killed us,” said Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi. “Their receivers are athletic. You just can’t give those guys mistakes.”
The Rams’ Donte Anthony rushed in from 57-yards out to put the Jackets down 20-8 in the second quarter. Before the end of the first half, Watts hit Jeremiah Talbert for a 59-yard touchdown to extend the Rams’ lead.
Heriot rushed for 29 yards on nine carries and caught three passes for 62 yards, while Marr passed for 141 yards. For Hillcrest, Watts passed for 280 yards and Adkins caught five passes for 139 yards.
Hillcrest moves on to face Spartanburg in the second round of the playoffs next Friday. Fort Mill’s season comes to an end.
Hillcrest 40, Fort Mill 14
Fort Mill 8;6;0;0;-;14
H - Donte Anthony 1 run (David McCaleb kick), 5:46
FM - Shayne Boyle 14 run (2-point conversion Jake Ajemian), 4:02
H - Steven Campbell 15 pass from Will Watts (conversion failed), 2:00
H - Donte Anthony 57 run (McCaleb kick), 11:49
FM - Josh Cloud 38 pass from JT Marr (kick failed), 10:31
H - Jeremiah Talbert 59 pass from Watts (McCaleb kick), 9:10
H - JaMarcus Robinson 67 interception return (McCaleb kick), 7:43
H - Dre Johnson 10 run (kick failed), 6:37
First downs 12;21
Passing yards 151;294
Fumbles/lost 0-0; 3-1
RUSHING Fort Mill: Ryan Heriot 9-29, Shayne Boyle 3-15, Jackson Randall 5-7, Sebastian Lach 3-13, Drew Hartman 5-7, Grant Stevens 2-(-1), Dylan Helms 2-(-13); Hillcrest: Will Watts 2-11, Colin Whitfield 13-64, Dre Johnson 16-108, Quendarius Jefferson 7-53, Donte Anthony 4-62.
PASSING Fort Mill: JT Marr 9-18-1 141, Drew Hartman 1-3-0 7, Dylan Helms 1-4-0 3, Caleb Smith 0-1-0 0; Hillcrest: Will Watts 12-15-0 280, Ethan Beamish 1-6-0 14, Braden Maloy 0-0-1 0.
RECEIVING Fort Mill: Ryan Heriot 3-62, Grant Stevens 1-5, Caleb Smith 2-24, Shayne Boyle 1-8, Josh Cloud 1-38, Sebastian Lach 1-11, Ben Kellam 1-3; Hillcrest: Steven Campbell 1-15, Trey Adkins 5-139, Quendarius Jefferson 2-44, Jeremiah Talbert 3-78, Colin Whitfield 1-4, Braden Maloy 1-14.
RECORDS Fort Mill 4-7; Hillcrest 9-2.