High School Football

What spurred Rock Hill’s eye-opening Homecoming blowout of Fort Mill?

The Rock Hill Bearcats rushed for 466 yards on Friday night and held the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets to 54 yards on the ground in a 71-0 Homecoming route.

Seven players had a hand in scoring Rock Hill’s 10 touchdowns as they opened up Region 4-5A play with a stunning blowout win. It was one of the most complete victories for the Bearcats in many years, as all three phases played a big part in the outcome.

“Yeah we wanted to come out and start strong and not get distracted by homecoming, and make a statement in our first region game,” said Bearcats Coach Bubba Pittman.

Running backs Narii Gaither and Noah Thompson continued their sizzling play, combining for almost 400 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a bone-crushing performance.

“Our O-line is ridiculous. Narii sets the tone every time he touches the ball, and he makes you want to go ten times harder,” Thompson said. “When he does what he does, I just try to follow in his footsteps. That’s the best role model as a running back you could have.”

The Bearcats blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt. Nick Ervin had an interception for the defense and a 50-yard return on a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Jackets tried an onside kick to open the second half, but Tyreil White snagged it at midfield and returned it to the Fort Mill 15. Even when a snap went awry on an extra point, Jordan Thurmond picked it up and found Sam Cecil for a two-point conversion.

Turning point

Halfway through the second quarter, Fort Mill had a third-and-four at Rock Hill’s 18 after stopping the Bearcats on a fourth-and-one at the 24. The Yellow Jackets had a chance to cut the Bearcats’ 14-0 lead in half, but the ball was mishandled and Caison Jones recovered to kill the threat.


Sebastian Lach came into the game a close second in rushing yards in the area, and led Gaither by nine. The Bearcats held him to just 39 yards on 17 carries and had numerous tackles for loss.

Star contributors

D’Reece McMullen and Ray Gordon-Cunningham teamed up on a nice sack and fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.

Narii Gaither had three touchdowns to go with his 178 yards rushing and Noah Thompson had 215 yards and a score.

Hayden Jackson ran for a touchdown and threw for another for the Bearcats and Antonio Barber had two touchdowns on two carries and 76 rushing yards. Nick Ervin had an interception for the defense and a 50-yard return on a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Caleb Smith had the 37-yard run on the fake punt for Fort Mill.

On deck

Rock Hill has their bye next week and goes to Clover in two weeks. The Yellow Jackets play at crosstown rival Nation Ford next Friday.

Box score




First quarter

RH - Narii Gaither 21 run (Colin Muschik kick) 6:54

Second quarter

RH - Hayden Jackson 1 run (Muschik kick) 11:55

RH - Gaither 11 run (Muschik kick) 57.3

Third quarter

RH - Antonio Barber 14 run (Muschik kick) 11:15

RH - Artavis Anthony 2 pass from Jackson (Muschik kick) 9:13

RH - Gaither 89 run (Muschik kick) 7:33

Fourth quarter

RH - Mekhi Durant 10 pass from Jordan Thurmond (Muschik kick) 10:23

RH - Barber 62 run (Muschik kick) 8:19

RH - Noah Thompson 47 run (Sam Cecil pass from Thurmond) 5:53

RH - Nick Ervin 50 fumble return (Muschik kick) 3:44



First downs;22;6



Passing yards;113;92




RUSHING Rock Hill: Narii Gaither 10-178; Noah Thompson 19-215; Hayden Jackson 7-(-4); Antonio Barber 2-76; Artavis Anthony 1-1. Fort Mill: Sebastian Lach 17-39; Caleb Smith 1-37; Team 3-(-25); Ben Kellam 1-(-5); Connor Rasmussen 7-(-8); D’Angelo Coit 3-6; Hunter Henderson 2-2; Cam Saunders 6-8.

PASSING RH: Jackson 7-12-1-0, 74 yards; Jordan Thurmond 3-3-1-0, 39 yards. FM: Dylan Helms 0-2-0-0; Rasmussen 5-17-0-1, 92 yards.

RECEIVING RH: Robbie Ouzts 1-7; Raphael Wright 1-17; Thompson 2-(-1); Gaither 1-29; Sam Cecil 1-20; Anthony 2-29; Cam Walker 1-2; Mekhi Durant 1-10. FM: Saunders 2-52; Xavier Easterlin 1-5; Kellam 1-18; Elijah Champagne 1-17.

RECORDS Rock Hill 4-2; Fort Mill 1-6.