High School Sports

Fort Mill Yellow Jackets dominate Nation Ford Falcons

After a letdown last year, the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets reclaimed the Milltown title as they pounded rivals Nation Ford 67-38.

With Nation Ford fans sporting “Falcon Repeat” shirts on, Nation Ford looked to get its second win over rivals Fort Mill in as many years.

Nation Ford is coming off a bye week and had two weeks to prep for the rival Jackets, while Fort Mill had an extra day to get ready having played last Thursday.

Fort Mill is now 6-2 and 2-1 in Region 3-4A, while Nation Ford is 2-5 with a 0-2 Region 3-4A record.

Fort Mill was led by quarterback Rogan Wells as he rushed for 130 yards on 14 carries and four touchdowns and running back Malik Long, who rushed for 244 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. The Jackets had 521 yards rushing in the game as a team.

Nation Ford struggled to move the ball early as Fort Mill’s defense kept pressure on quarterback Cole Martin, who went 30-50 for 492 yards and four touchdowns. Martin’s main target was receiver Jordan Helms who caught 11 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. Martin’s 492 passing yards is a new school record.

Penalties hurt Nation Ford to start the third quarter, but Martin overcame that as he hit Ervin Lassiter on a 58-yard pass have them cross midfield. Lassiter and Martin would connect again on the drive as they would score on an 18-yard pass.

Fort Mill came back to move the ball down the field as the Jackets kept things on the ground with Nation Ford struggling to stop the run.

Long would get Fort Mill to the 20-yard line of Nation Ford, where Wells would run in from 20-yards out.

Martin tied to keep Nation Ford in the game, as he and receiver Hank Tuipulotu finally found their rhythm together as they connected on a 36-yard pass to move the Falcons deep into Fort Mill territory. However, the Jackets’ defense held strong at the goal line keeping Nation Ford out of the end zone.

Fort Mill kept the ball on the ground to drain the clock and Long kept doing what he had been doing all game busting the Nation Ford defense for big gains.

Wells also had some big runs on the drive, as he would extend Fort Mill’s lead with a 35-yard run himself for a score making it 46-21.

Nation Ford took the ball to start the second quarter and Martin hit Helms and Tuipulotu to move the chains, before Martin connected with Keshaun McClure on a wheel route for a 54-yard touchdown to put the Falcons on the board.

Fort Mill bounced right back and Long took the ball 80-yards in 14 seconds to extend the Jackets lead as he scored from scrimmage on its first series in the second quarter.

The Jackets’ defense stayed on the attack shaking Martin up for a couple plays forcing him out of the game and flushing him out of the pocket on several occasions.

Fort Mill kept the ball on the ground for the majority of their next possession. Wells did hit Long on a 18-yard pass and Clay Helvey for a 30-yard pass to get the Jackets to the red zone.

Long would then carry the ball to the one-yard line and Wells would then keep it himself to score for Fort Mill.

Nation Ford tried to come back and put together a good series as Martin would hit Helms and Tuipulotu on 17 and 22-yard passes to move the chains for the Falcons putting them at the 8-yard line of Fort Mill. McClure would score two plays later for Nation Ford cutting the Fort Mill lead in half.

Fort Mill got another huge return from Chandler Kryst of 76-yards on the ensuing kickoff to put the Jackets into the red zone to start its drive.

Long would push Fort Mill again to the goal line and Wells would hit Brandon Plyler for a 3-yard touchdown.

In the first quarter, Kryst took the opening kickoff back to the Falcons’ 34-yard line for a 64-yard return. However, Nation Ford’s defense stepped up stopped the Jackets sacking Wells to turn the ball over on downs.

Fort Mill’s defense was just as furious rushing Martin consistently pushing Nation Ford backwards.

The Jackets started deep in its own territory, but a big 25-yard run from Long allowed Fort Mill to cross midfield. Long and Wells got Fort Mill into the red zone, before Taylor Hemphill would scramble in from the final 15-yards out to cap off a nine-play, 92-yard drive and put the Jackets on the board first.

After a Falcons’ punt, Fort Mill started 4 yards into Nation Ford territory. Wells hit Plyler on the first play to get them to the 1-yard line with a 45-yard pass. Long would score two plays later to extend the Jackets lead.