High School Sports

Opening the gates

Rock Hill's Jonathan Meeks runs through Greenville defenders.
Rock Hill's Jonathan Meeks runs through Greenville defenders.

There will be more talk the rest of the season that the Rock Hill Bearcats are a young team trying to hit its stride.

They hit it in the third quarter Friday night at District Three Stadium, putting 27 points on the scoreboard on their way to a 54-19 win -- in their first home game after three road trips -- over the Greenville Red Raiders.

And it happened because of complete domination on both sides of the ball and on special teams, a performance that solidified that the Bearcats will be a team to be reckoned with after starting the season 0-2.

Rock Hill (2-2) trailed 12-7 at the half, but two came when the Bearcats took a safety rather than risk setting the Red Raiders up in good field position.

At the break, Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery made some minor changes that paid in a major way.

"Our offensive line wasn't coming off the ball well in the fist half,'' Montgomery said. "We made some adjustments in the locker room.

"Brandon Berger did a good job pinning them back with his kickoff into the end zone. And our defense did a great job setting up our offense. Our coaches did a good job getting our kids ready to play.''

The third quarter was like hitting the lottery for the Bearcats, like a terrible nightmare for the Red Raiders.

Greenville (2-1) turned over the ball four times in the quarter. Berger kicked off three times into the end zone. And until Red Raiders had no yards -- 0 rushing and 0 passing -- and no first downs until the fourth quarter.

"I tired out in the final quarter and couldn't kick off into the end zone,'' Berger said with a huge smile on his face. "I was the back up last year and I'm getting my shot. I'm kicking well, but I'm human. I'm going to keep riding it as long as I can.''

Greenville, which beat Gaffney 21-14 last Friday, fumbled on the opening possession of the second half and Rock Hill recovered. Four plays later quarterback Jonathan Meeks scored on a 6-yard run.

The Bearcats forced the Red Raiders to punt on their next series and started at their 43. The drive ended with Berger's 40-yard field goal that put Rock Hill up 17-12.

Greenville quarterback Chris Wallace was picked off by Brandon Jackson on the next possession. He made a leaping grab and ran the ball in for a 29-yard touchdown.

Breon Love recovered a Red Raiders fumble on fist down of the next series. The drive stalled, but Berger came in again and nailed a 27-yard field goal.

Rock Hill pushed its lead to 34-12 on Greenville's fifth possession of the period with another interception. Terrance Bingham did the honors this time, picking a Wallace pass out of the air and returning it 22 yards to the end zone.

Going into the game, first-year tailback Jerante Hood has not gone over 100 yards rushing this season and his 84 last week gave him 126 in three games. Friday night, Hood had 18 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns, both in the final quarter.

He broke loose for a dandy 70-yard sprint to the end zone and on the next possession, rolled 33 yards for his second score.

Rock Hill had one more long run left after Greenville scored and cut the lead to 47-19. This time it was Mark Watkins, who bounced around right end and raced 26 yards to cap the scoring.

"It was wonderful to come home and get a win in front of a big crowd,'' Montgomery said. "We started quick in the third quarter and I was worried we might have had a letdown in the fourth. It didn't happen.''

Greenville 3 9 0 7 -- 19

Rock Hill 0 7 27 20 -- 54

Rock Hill 54

Greenville 19