Stop the Rock Hill Bearcats and they get mad. Attack the Bearcats and they put up a wall.
That's how it went most of the night as Rock Hill's offense assaulted the Wando Warriors 35-0 in the season opener.
Senior tailback Jamal Tyler showed early he is 100 percent after missing last year's playoffs with a severe muscle injury in the hip area. He had touchdown runs of 6 and 1 yards in the first quarter. He had 89 yards on 16 carries in the opening half.
Tyler scored his third TD in the second half and ended the night with 124 yards on 24 carries.
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The second quarter was an offensive nightmare for the Bearcats, as they failed to deliver the blows from the red zone that would have put the Warriors away early.
Bearcats coach Joe Montgomery said it came down to the practice time quarterback Randall Dixon missed this week. Dixon completed 14 passes for 170 yards.
“You've got to practice to be ready on Friday night,'' Montgomery said. “Randall has a slight injury and spent most of the week in the whirlpool. That caused him to miss some of our zone reads in the first half. We sat him down and talked to him at the half. He came out in the third quarter better prepared to execute.''
Rock Hill got inside the Warriors' 20 twice in the second quarter and most of it was played on Wando's side of the field. Scoring drives ended with a pair of missed field goals. Another was halted on a fumble, Rock Hill's lone turnover.
As hard as it was to take his team's inability to put the game away, Montgomery's mind was put at ease by the performance of his defense. The Bearcats forced and recovered three first-half fumbles. They added two more in the second half and an interception by Drew Williams.
“Our defense was the key,” Montgomery said. “We haven't been tackling well or playing together as a unit. That changed tonight and we had people flying to the ball. It was good to see the Bearcats defense of old on the field. I don't think we let Wando cross the 50.”
Montgomery was close enough. Wando ran one play in Rock Hill territory, that coming early in the second quarter after the Warriors picked up consecutive first downs. That's all they would get, and the ensuing play netted negative yardage and left the ball at midfield.
Wando ended the night with 24 rushing yards and didn't complete a pass. Sophomore defensive end Thomas Perry did his role, standing up the Warriors' running backs and falling on two fumbles.
“Our whole defense turned it up tonight,'' Perry said. “We keyed on their offense like it was one man and we were 11. My assignment was to get to the quarterback and hit him hard, but we played great on both sides of the ball.''
Rock Hill's offense got off to a running start as the second half started. The Bearcats scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and Montgomery played his reserves in the fourth.
Tyler scored his third touchdown on Rock Hill first possession, a 15-yard run straight up the gut.
The Bearcats closed out the scoring with a reverse by Xavier McFadden for a 19-yard TD, and a fumble recovery 6 yards into the end zone by Savion Thoms.
“Not scoring when we got loose was frustrating,'' Tyler said. “We are better than that and have to take advantage of our red zone chances. That's something we can fix. The good thing is we started the season with a good win.''
ROCK HILL 35, WANDO 0
RH – Jamal Tyler 6 run (Fernando Gonzales kick)
RH – Tyler 1 run (Gonzales kick)
RH – Tyler 15 run (Gonzales kick)
RH – Xavier McFadden 19 run (Gonzales kick)
RH – Savion Thoms 6 fumble recovery (Gonzales kick)
TEAM STATISTICS WHSRHHSFirst downs222Rushes/yards22-2442-197Passing0-4-115-36-0Passing yards0172Fumbles/lost5-51-1Penalties/yards5-457-75
RUSHING — Wando: Lee Oree 11-27, Tevin Venning 2-16, Sullivan Williams 2-2, Ryan Turnage 2-(-9), Dezmon Venning 2-(-5), Rashaud Singleton 1-2, Team 2-(-6). Rock Hill: Tyler 24-124, McFadden 3-30, Arthur Heyward 4-0, DeMarkus Davis 2-8, Thomas Agurs 1-0, Randall Dixon 4-29, Corey Wessinger 4-6, .
PASSING — Wando: Turnage 0-4-0-0, Josh Walker 0-1-0-1 Rock Hill: Randall Dixon 14-34-0-170, Jajuan Crockett 1-2-2-1.
RECEIVING — Rock Hill: Kirob Simms 6-45, Tyler 2-41; McFadden 5-42, Aaron Hemphill 1-18, Joseph Perry 1-24, Davis 1-2.
RECORDS — Rock Hill 1-0, Wando 0-1