For the fourth straight season, the Gaffney Indians have come to the city of Rock Hill in the first round of the playoffs and left with a win.
The first two times, they defeated the Northwestern Trojans, and for the second year in a row they have upset the Rock Hill Bearcats.
This time, the Indian defense forced four Rock Hill turnovers in the second half and held the Bearcats to two field goals in their 27-6 victory.
“If you’re going to win championships, you’ve got to beat good football teams,” Rock Hill coach Bubba Pittman said. “And that’s what playoff football is about. I want to be in the playoffs, and I want to play the best. And Gaffney is one of those teams.”
Undre Lindsay hooked up with De’Mari Littlejohn on two touchdown passes to provide plenty of offense for the visitors. Lindsay was 24-of-42 for 302 yards and Littlejohn had seven catches for 124 yards.
Rock Hill finishes another solid season at 7-4 with a senior class that last year was part of a city and region championship, and has won three out of four city rivalry games the last two years.
“We’ve made strides as a program at Rock Hill High, but we’ve still got a ways to go,” Pittman said. “And we know that. Our kids are working and they’re moving our program in the right direction. But we’ve still got room for growth.
“A lot of this senior class has been starting for us for three years, and it’s going to be awkward not to write those names down next year. But once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat and they are part of our family. The legacy that they will leave will be felt for years.”
Ethan Dutton hit two first half field goals, including a 44-yarder, to keep the Bearcats in the game 13-6 at the half.
“I was a little worried about the distance on that on a cold night like this,” Pittman said of the long field goal. “And all the coaches assured me he could make it and he knocked it through. He’s a kid that never played football until two years ago and we are real proud of him. He kept us in the football game for a long time.”
The Rock Hill defense also held Gaffney to field goals twice in the second quarter when the Indians had first-and-goal at the five and the three respectively. A.J. Hames hit the field goal each time for Gaffney.
The Bearcats forced a three-and-out on the first Indian possession of the second half and set up shop with good field position at the Gaffney 42, trailing by only a touchdown. But a false start and a sack backed up the home team and they had to punt.
Lindsay-to-Littlejohn happened with 18 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 20-6 and again with 1:50 left in the game for the final margin. Tri-County Special Teams Player of the Year and Shrine Bowler Tylik Edwards had another interception for Rock Hill after coming up with two in last week’s rivalry win over Northwestern.