The only difference was that this one didn’t come on the Williams-Brice Stadium field, as it has for the last four years. This one took place in a region contest at Lancaster Memorial Stadium.
In a game filled with back-and-forth offensive action, South Pointe recorded a sack at the 12-yard line to stave off one final Lancaster offensive flurry and preserve a 35-30 victory.
“I’m getting too old now. It’s starting to wear on me a little bit, but that’s what good football is all about,” joked a visibly relieved South Pointe coach Strait Herron. “As long as we come out on top, I’ll be OK.”
Those who settled into their seats looking for offense found exactly what they sought, with both the teams combining for a 42-point opening quarter that featured 340 of the game’s 900-plus yards of offense. Before any of the offensive fireworks unfolded, however, Lancaster’s Nehemiah Bailey started the scoring with a 50-yard pick-six. South Pointe tied it up one minute later, with Joe Ervin taking a 61-yard scamper.
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Each team scored twice more before the quarter break, with Lancaster (5-2, 1-1) embarking on a 14-play drive that spanned seven minutes across two periods. The Stallions halted the Bruins’ progress at the 8, compelling the Bruins to settle for a 25-yard Jacob Cato field goal to put the home side ahead, 24-21.
South Pointe (6-1, 1-0) claimed its first lead of the proceedings at 28-24 on an 11-yard connection from Tahleek Steele to Ty Good with 15 seconds left in the second period.
The flood of offensive activity turned to a trickle in the third, as each team had a 10-plus play drive end without points. The lone exception came on a 20-yard run by Ervin, giving the Stallions a 35-24 advantage.
After a short touchdown run from Cloud early in the fourth period, Lancaster’s defense forced South Pointe to punt for the first time in the game with just over six minutes remaining. The ensuing Lancaster drive came up empty, but the Bruins again forced South Pointe to punt, giving the home club the ball with 2:22 to play and 84 yards to drive.
Lancaster drove 78 of those yards, giving the Bruins one final play with 1.3 seconds remaining. Kemarkio Cloud took the final snap and scrambled in an attempt to find an open receiver, but the Stallions pulled down the Lancaster quarterback to clinch the result and spark the celebration.
“I’m proud of our guys for stepping up,” Herron said. “I’m just happy for the win.”
Lancaster was driving as the second quarter ticked away, seeing a chance to go up 31-21 with roughly a minute to go before the half. South Pointe quickly turned away that chance, as defensive back Jaylen Mahoney picked off a Bruin pass and returned it to nearly midfield. Just under a minute later, Steele found Good in the back of the end zone, giving the Stallions a lead they would never relinquish.
“That was huge for us,” Herron said. “Those changes of possessions that add motivation are huge for your team. That was big, and Jaylen made a great play on it.”
South Pointe played center Jackson Chappell at nose guard for several possessions. Chappell played a considerable role in slowing down a Lancaster rushing attack that enjoyed considerable success early in the game.
“He was huge. He’s gotta do that for us,” Herron said. “We’ve gotta look at adjusting some people and getting them on both sides of the ball. That’s what high school football is all about.”
Steele connected on 13-of-22 throws for 187 yards for the Stallions, throwing for two scores. Ervin carried 19 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns, with Marice Whitlock rushing seven times for 128 yards and a touchdown. Whitlock also hauled in six passes for 106 yards.
Cloud threw for 212 yards and ran for 170, scoring twice. Ason’ta Clark also added a touchdown for the Bruins.
Both sides continue Region 3-4A play next Friday. South Pointe will host Richland Northeast, while Lancaster will travel to York. Both games will kick off at 7:30.
South Pointe 35, Lancaster 30
South Pointe 21;7;7;0;-;35
L – Nehemiah Bailey 50 interception return (Jacob Cato kick) 10:56
SP – Joe Ervin 61 run (Wyatt Grantham kick) 9:56
L – Ason’ta Clark 4 run (Cato kick) 8:33
SP – Travis Foster 6 pass from Tahleek Steele (Grantham kick) 5:14
L – Kemarkio Cloud 1 run (Cato kick) 3:26
SP – Marice Whitlock 76 run (Grantham kick) 1:08
L – Cato 25 field goal 6:01
SP – Ty Good 11 pass from Steele (Grantham kick) :15
SP – Ervin 20 run (Grantham kick) :41.3
L – Cloud 3 run (conversion failed) 7:47
RUSHING South Pointe: Joe Ervin 19-136; Quay Chambers 2-5; Marice Whitlock 7-128; Tahleek Steele 4-4. Lancaster: Ason’ta Clark 9-20; Kemarkio Cloud 29-170; Zach Truesdale 3-19; J.P. Cunningham 1-6; Nigel Moore 6-20; WyQuan Massey 1-4.
PASSING South Pointe: Steele 13-22-2-187 yards. Lancaster: Cloud 15-37-1-212 yards.
RECEIVING South Pointe: Whitlock 6-106; Ty Good 3-41; Travis Foster 1-6; Ervin 2-28. Lancaster: Truesdale 5-80; Massey 1-12; Cunningham 3-57; Phillip Mickles 3-25; Christian Woodard 3-38.
RECORDS South Pointe 6-1 (2-0 Region 3-4A), Lancaster 5-2 (1-1).