Chester High hosted the annual Chester County high school football jamboree Friday night, a week shy of the regular season’s official kickoff.
Local squads Great Falls, Lancaster, South Pointe and Chester mixed it up with Franklin Christian and North Carolina schools Alleghany, Olympic and Garinger.
South Pointe beat Gaffney 20-17 a couple of hours earlier in Blacksburg, prior to arriving in Chester to face the Cyclones. But the hosts - whose coaches sports gray t-shirts that said “The Change” on the back - scored late to knock off the defending 3A state champs for a morale-boosting scrimmage win.
Franklin Christian 12, Alleghany (N.C.) 7: Franklin Christian used two late touchdown strikes to edge Alleghany. Quarterback Tyrone Good connected with Jayvaun Flake on a 60-yard throw with 3:55 to play. Receiver Bronx Bratton then took an inside screen 67 yards with under a minute remaining, providing the final margin for the Cavaliers.
Garinger (N.C.) 16, Great Falls 0: The Red Devils struggled on offense in a loss to the Charlotte 4A school. The Wildcats scored early, forced Great Falls into a safety, then scored again with 3:58 in the scrimmage to clinch a win.
Lancaster 28, Olympic (N.C.) 0: Lancaster controlled both sides of the ball, surrendering fewer than 100 yards of total offense. Bruins quarterback Jamias Shropshire recorded touchdown runs of eight and five yards, adding a 23-yard touchdown strike to Cordarious Tinsley. Lancaster running back Ant Foster tallied the other Bruin score on a 40-yard carry.
Chester 19, South Pointe 14 - Friday’s nightcap was a back-and-forth battle, with Chester emerging victorious. Derion Kendrick threw for a score and ran for another to give South Pointe a 14-0 lead. A Jalyn Reid touchdown cut the Stallion lead to 14-6, and a 21-yard LaDarius Foster interception return on the ensuing possession sliced the margin to 14-12. Malik Williams found NiQuavian Coleman for a 17-yard touchdown in the right corner of the end zone with 40.7 seconds to play.
Five things we saw
▪ Friday night’s scrimmage dragged on into the late, late hours of Friday night, thanks in large part to canary-colored penalty flags. The first two scrimmages were extremely sloppy, with numerous procedural penalties. The latter two scrimmages were very tightly called with a number of referees swapped in and out of the game, all while supervisors looked on. The zebras let nothing - nothing - slide.
▪ South Pointe’s Derion Kendrick is converting to QB and it’s clear he has a cannon for an arm. He whistled a couple passes toward receivers either too high or too hot, though the fact the Stallions were playing in the second scrimmage of the night may have had some impact. Good thing for both South Pointe and Chester: when the play breaks down, both team’s quarterbacks – Kendrick and Malik Williams – can freestyle on their own.
▪ First-year program Franklin Christian has some athletes, including kids who formerly played for South Pointe and Northwestern, notably Tyrone Good and Tyler Morgan. The Cavaliers only dress out around 20 players but they had more than enough game-breakers to beat Alleghany with a couple of long catches and runs for touchdowns. Franklin Christian faces Chester and Clover this season.
▪ Lancaster coach Bobby Collins has repeatedly referred to his club’s identity as a running team. The Bruins lived up to that billing Friday, toting the ball 25 times for just shy of 200 yards, many of those from the legs of senior Ant Foster. Collins’ defense allowed just over 30 rushing yards on 10 tries, while the Trojans completed just 3-of-10 attempts through the air in an all-around excellent outing for the Bruins.
▪ Great Falls struggled against Garinger but saw two things it will need to see a lot more this season. The Red Devil defense notched two key stops inside the five, while speedster Aaron Rice had several offensive touches. One of those came on a nifty 54-yard reception, on which he flew past several Wildcat tacklers.