Chester had beaten Rock Hill just once since 1980 prior to Friday’s game at District 3 Stadium, but the Cyclones were off to a good start in the direction of a possible second win over the Bearcats.
The weather, however, had other plans.
The Cyclones led 6-0 going into a lengthy weather delay, but the host Bearcats seized momentum after the delay on the way to a 37-19 win. Rock Hill scored two touchdowns in two minutes of game action shortly after play resumed, delivering a punch from which Chester was ultimately unable to recover.
A 31-yard field goal at the horn gave Rock Hill a 16-6 lead heading to the halftime break. A short Chester drive to open the third period gave the Bearcats the ball at their 30, and an 18-yard toss from Brandon Banks to Kenny Agurs put the Bearcats on top 23-6. Rock Hill’s next possession led to a Brandon Banks fumble -- one of two on the night -- and Malik Williams punched in a one-yard score to slice the lead to 23-12.
Chester would draw no closer, though, despite several chances they acquired off turnovers. Banks’ second fumble led to a 62-yard return from Jalyn Reid to the Bearcat 23, but the Rock Hill defense stiffened, keeping the Cyclones off the board.
An Albert Thompson pick-six again sliced the lead to 11, but Kadarius Baxter quickly answered with a 25-yard score, sealing the victory for the Bearcats.
The weather delay changed the face of the game. Lightning vividly flashed in the distance beyond the visiting stands, resulting in a nearly two-hour stoppage with 7 minutes, 8 seconds to play before the half. The Bearcats survived the extensive delay, scoring 23 consecutive points before Williams’ run with 2 minutes, 35 seconds in the third quarter.
“Our kids did a good job of just going into the locker room and correcting some mistakes that we were making,” said Rock Hill coach Bubba Pittman. “We looked at some stuff on video and got some things straightened out, and came out and played a little better in the second half.”
Rock Hill’s first score after the delay led to a quick turnover on downs on the ensuing Chester possession. Williams’ knee touched the ground as he went to field a low snap on the punt attempt, leading to Rock Hill taking over at the Chester 10. Baxter found pay dirt shortly thereafter.
Banks completed 20-of-34 passes for 179 yards, adding touchdowns on the ground and through the air. Bearcat running backs Baxter and Timothy Sherer combined for 28 carries, 187 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think both Kadarius Baxter and Tim Sherer ran the ball extremely, extremely well tonight,” said Pittman. “They were (running) downhill, and doing some things that we asked them to do. I was very excited about them.”
Banks turned in a strong game under center, as did junior backup Dre Robinson. Robinson alternated with Banks on several possessions, finding the end zone himself on a short-yardage carry.
“That’s a product of the new (eight-quarter) rule,” said Pittman. Dre can’t stand on the sideline all season long. He’s got to get out there and get some reps. We knew what drives he was going in on, no matter what the situation was. We stuck him out there and he played well.”
Chester travels to York next Friday; Rock Hill is at Dorman.
Rock Hill 37, Chester 19
Chester 6;0;6;7- 19
Rock Hill 0;16;7;14- 37
CHS – Malik Williams 20 pass to John Erby (kick failed) 3:13
RHHS – Brandon Banks 2 run (Zhenya Deller kick) 3:41
RHHS - Kadarius Baxter 2 run (conversion failed) 1:40
RHHS - Deller 31 field goal 0:00
RHHS – Banks 18 pass to Kenny Agurs (Gray kick) 7:23
CHS - Williams 1 run (conversion failed) 2:35
RHHS - Dre Robinson 1 run (Gray kick) 11:56
CHS - Albert Thompson 45 interception return (Erby kick) 5:11
RHHS - Baxter 25 run (Gray kick) 3:52
RUSHING Chester: Malik Williams 26-77, Pha’leak Brown 10-25, Quay Strong 3-20, Javarius Gregory 4-10, Justin Sanders 1-7. Rock Hill: Brandon Banks 7-14, Timothy Sherer 15-105, Kadarius Baxter 13-82, Thiland Adams 1-2, Dre Robinson 1-1.
PASSING Chester: Malik Williams 13-29-1-1, 130 yards. Rock Hill: Brandon Banks 20-34-1-1, 179 yards; Dre Robinson 6-11-0-0, 51 yards.
RECEIVING Chester: Mark Dean 2-32, Troy Minter 5-32, John Erby 3-57, Demetric Hardin 2-21, Pha’leak Brown 1-(-13) Rock Hill: Kenny Agurs 6-53, Kadarius Baxter 3-50, Thiland Adams 5-28, John McCullough 6-46, Jonathan Muhammad 5-37, Cam Long 1-16.
RECORDS Chester 1-2; Rock Hill 1-2.