High School Football

Legion Collegiate overcomes flurry of turnovers, downs Catawba Ridge, 22-19

Joey Hylinski rolled out and hit Carson Depass with a 10-yard touchdown pass in overtime to lift the Legion Collegiate Lancers to a 22-19 heart-pounding win over the Catawba Ridge Copperheads on Friday night in Fort Mill.

It was the first big rivalry matchup for either of the fledgling programs in their first year of existence — and it lived up to the hype in front of a large crowd at Catawba Ridge.

“I think it’s great for helping to build what we’re trying to get to,” Legion Collegiate head coach Strait Herron said after the game. “It was a very evenly, well-matched game.”

Ayden McCarter had kicked a 22-yard field goal on the Copperheads’ possession in overtime. The first two plays of Legion’s possession netted nothing, and the team faced third-and-goal before the game-sealing play. Herron said they thought the roll-out would be there because of how aggressively the Catawba Ridge defense was pursuing.

“Coach Spencer Carroll called that play and it was a great call,” Herron said. “It’s worked in the past. We thought anything we could get flow going and come back would be good.”

On the first play from scrimmage to start the game, Nehemiah Bailey came up with an interception for the Lancers. It would be a sign of things to come as there would be 10 total turnovers in the game, five interceptions and five fumbles.

Legion Collegiate actually committed six of the turnovers.

“I was disappointed with the turnovers, but our defense did a good job of forcing turnovers too, so it evens out,” Herron said.

One of the bigger moments of the game came later in the first quarter: Jacobie Henderson had taken a pass from Harrison Wilson 53 yards to the Legion one-yard-line and set the Copperheads up with a first-and-goal. But a false start penalty would back them up, and they weren’t able to get the ball in the end zone.

McCarter booted a 25-yard field goal to make it 3-0.

In the second quarter, the Copperheads’ Quinten Jackson came up with an interception at midfield and weaved his way 50 yards to make it 9-0 Catawba Ridge. The extra point attempt was blocked.

The Copperheads had dominated the first half, but tables turned late. A Lancer punt pinned Catawba Ridge on the three, and Legion Collegiate got the ball at the Copperheads 30 on its next possession. On second down, Webber Moore threw a perfect halfback pass to Donavan Pittman in stride for a 25-yard score with 2:17 left in the half.

The Lancers would get the ball back before the half, and Hylinski hit Vic Lindsay for a 45-yard gain. Colin Muschik would hit a 29-yard field goal before halftime to give Legion a 10-9 lead.

The Lancers opened the second half with a 13-play drive, and Nathan Kelly punched it in from one yard out to make it 16-9 Legion. The extra point was wide left.

“We did a good job to start the second half pounding the ball on the short side of the field,” Herron said.

Early in the fourth quarter, Catawba Ridge faced a third-and-ten at the team’s own 21 when Jackson out-jumped a defender for a deep ball and went 79 yards to tie the game at 16.

The last five possessions of regulation each ended in turnovers, three by Legion and two by the Copperheads, setting up the dramatic finish.

Wilson was 16-for-29 for Catawba Ridge for 177 yards.