The Indian Land Warriors had the perfect Homecoming, a 48-20 blowout of arch rival Buford with the Warriors playing close to perfect on both sides of the ball.
“The best game we’ve played all year, hands down,” said Warriors head coach Michael Mayer. A year that began, by the way, with a 39-38 road victory over these same Buford Yellowjackets. But the only thing similar about the down-to-the-wire season opener and Friday’s showdown was the eventual Indian Land victory.
Friday night, the Warriors dominated from start to finish.
By the 9:47 mark in the second quarter Indian Land was leading 21-0 with crushing full back Austin Gordon already contributing two rushing scores and an interception on defense. Buford managed to get on the board and keep hope alive with catch and run by receiver Isaah Nesbitt on a pass from quarterback Scott Moser. But it would be the Yellowjackets lone score until the 5:13 mark in the fourth.
The second half belonged entirely to Warriors running back Lee Massey . Massey had 30 carries for 203 yards and three touchdowns, his best game of the season. Gordon chipped in with threw rushing touchdowns himself, while quarterback David Loughry capped of the night with a 29-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The Warriors defense influenced Buford to attempt six fourth-down conversion attempts — they converted just two — to avoid handing the ball back to a hot Warriors offense. What’s more, Indian Land forced to Buford fumbles, recovering one, and picked Moser off twice.
“We struggled for three weeks. The over time win last week got a lot of attitudes turned around,” said Mayer. “Attitude makes a big difference for us when you come out here and play like we did tonight. All of our kids, just a complete game, offense, defense and kicking. Just total domination.”
The second-quarter drive that ended with a two-yard Austin Gordon touchdown run began with a Gordon defensive play, an interception by the ball carrier who doubles as a feared defensive lineman. The score made the lead 21-0 and set the tone for a dominating third quarter for the Warriors.
Simply put, the Yellowjackets could not stop Massey. On perhaps his most outstanding play of the night Massey bobbled and gained control of a pitch from Loughry while running full speed. He bounced outside, eluded one tackler, was grabbed from behind and then drug two defenders ten yards into the end zone.
Massey was certainly the most outstanding performer of the night thanks to a stout offensive line and fullback Austin Gordon who cleared the way for Massey. After Massey reached 200 rushing yards on a late fourth-quarter play Gordon pointed to him and looked to the Warriors crowd demanding an applause for the game’s star.
“We always get each other’s best shot. Buford/Indian Land is every bit as big a rivalry as Rock Hill/Northwestern or any of the Rock Hill rivalries in my opinion, Mayer said. “It's always unpredictable. It’s a very intense rivalry. The schools just aren’t as big.”
Buford 21, Indian Land 48
ILHS — Austin Gordon 1 run (Matthew Medlock kick) 9:37
ILHS — Lee Massey 2 run (Medlock kick) 3:06
ILHS — Gordon 2 run (Medlock kick) 9:47
BHS — Isaah Nesbitt 52 pass from Scott Moser (Wade Lambert kick) 5:48
ILHS — Massey 13 run (Medlock kick) 9:13
ILHS — Massey 34 (Medlock kick) 7:40
ILHS — Gordon 5 run (pass failed) 3:57
ILHS — Loughry 29 run (Medlock kick) 7:05
BHS — Matthew Hunter 20 pass from Moser (Lambert kick) 5:13
BHS — LaDarius Parker 85 run (Lambert kick) 2:21
RUSHING Buford: S. Moser 10-3; L. Parker 14-126; I. Nesbitt 4-18. Indian Land: A. Gordon 11-34; L. Massey 30-203; D. Loughry 7-48; C. Blakeney 3-16; S Cedeno 2-11; D. Howie 1-2.
PASSING Buford: Moser 19-37-2-2, 301 yards . Indian Land: Loughry 8-11-0-1, 115; D. Mackey 1-1-0-0, 46 yards.
RECEIVING Buford: Nesbitt 7-133; C. Catledge 3-63; M. Hunter 3-41; D. Stradford 2-40; Parker 3-33; R. Moore 1-5. Indian Land: John Gregory 2-76; Ryan Albino 6-85; Blakeney 1-0.
RECORDS: Buford 5-4; Indian Land 6-3
On deck: Indian Land is at home for the season finale against Andrew Jackson; Buford will wrap up the regular season at home against Carolina Pride out of Charlotte.