Saturday, December 6, 2014 – SC 4A Division 1 State Championship
Hillcrest Rams Vs. Dutch Fork Silver Foxes
My Final 2014 Friday Night Fave is actually a Saturday Edition as Brad Cunningham, Coach John Daye, and I, with the Z93 LexCoFootball Game of the Week, broadcast LIVE from Williams-Brice Stadium! Dutch Fork came in to the championship looking to repeat their performance from 2013, but Hillcrest had something to say about that. The Rams took a 19-17 lead into Halftime and in the second half took complete control of the game, scoring 28 more unanswered points. In the end, Hillcrest defeated Dutch Fork 47-17 to capture the Rams first ever 4A Division 1 Title. See attached STATS and SCORING SUMMARY and hear pre and postgame comments from the coaches here:
Greg Porter Hillcrest Rams STATE DEC 6
Tom Knotts Dutch Fork STATE DEC 6
Coach Tom Knotts Halftime STATE Dec 6 14
Coach Greg Porter postgame STATE Dec 6 14
Coach Tom Knotts postgame STATE Dec 6 14
Friday Night, November 21, 2014 – SC 4A State High School Playoffs – Round 2
Lexington Wildcats At Hillcrest Rams – Lexington loses on a tough night at Hillcrest by the score of 52-14 – Coach Josh Stepp pregame comments – Josh Stepp pre LexVsHlcrst
River Bluff Gators At York Cougars – River Bluff led the game 21-6 in the first half, but the Cougars come back and hold off a late rally by the Gators. York wins it 33-28 – Coach David Bennett pregame comments – David Bennett pre RBvsYork
Dorman Cavaliers Vs. Dutch Fork Silver Foxes – The Z93 LexCo Football Playoff Game of the Week covered the Dorman Vs. Dutch Fork Rematch played tonight at Dutch Fork. On September 19th earlier this season, the Cavaliers defeated the Silver Foxes 48-37. Dutch Fork Coach Tom Knotts said in the pregame that the Foxes must avoid the costly turnovers that contributed heavily to the regular season loss. Tonight, they allowed an interception and a fumble, but still come away with the victory 27-13 with Matt Colburn’s 227 yards rushing and QB Tate Fant’s 155 yards passing. See the final stats attached to the right (Special Thanks for Stats assistance to the Dutch Fork Staff) and hear coaches’ pre and postgame comments:
Coach Tom Knotts pregame Playoff DorVsDF
David Gutshall pregame Playoff DorVsDF
Tom Knotts postgame Playoff DorVsDF
Coach David Gutshall postgame Playoff DorVsDF
Friday Night, November 14, 2014 – SC 4A State High School Football Playoffs
The Rematch – Lexington Wildcats Vs. White Knoll Timberwolves
The SCHSL 4A playoff points system dialed up a playoff match-up that surprised many and produced a rematch of the final regular season battle between the Region 5 Champion White Knoll Timberwolves and the Lexington Wildcats. The Z93 LexCo Football Playoff Game of the Week was at the White Knoll Wolf Den to capture all the action as Coach Josh Stepp’s Wildcats defeated White Knoll 35-21 with a renewed offense directed by Brandon Blake and once again led by strong rushing from Slade Carroll. Coach Dean Howell and the Timberwolves were disappointed with the first round loss, but they have a lot to celebrate with the team’s best performance ever in 4A Region 5. For game statistics and scoring summary, visit this link: http://lexingtonwildcatsfootballstats.com/2014/2014WhiteKnollPlayoff.pdf (Special thanks to William Maple for Lexington Stats)
Hear coaches’ pre and postgame comments here:
Playoff Josh Stepp pre LexVsWK Nov14
Playoff Dean Howell pre LexVsWK Nov14
Josh Stepp post Round 1 Playoff LexVsWK
Dean Howell post Round 1 Playoff LexVsWK
Friday Night, November 7, 2014 – White Knoll Timberwolves Vs. Lexington Wildcats
The Final Regular Season edition of the Z93 LexCo Football Game of the Week featured the Region 5 Champions from White Knoll travelling to Wildcat Stadium to take on Lexington. The Wildcats opened up a 16-0 lead and led at halftime 37-7! However, the Timberwolves battled back and closed the gap to 10 points with 9:26 left in the game, trailing 37-27. But Lexington regained control with two late Touchdowns by Slade Carroll (29 rushes for 211 yards!) and the Wildcats knock off the cross town rivals and region champs 50-33! THIS JUST IN: LEXINGTON WILL TRAVEL TO WHITE KNOLL FOR ROUND 1 OF THE SC 4A DIV 1 PLAYOFFS! HUGE REMATCH!
Unfortunately, not enough time to add details from this big game, but see photo of quick game stats attached below…
WK Vs Lex Quick Stats
Quick Statistics from White Knoll At Lexington immediately following game in the photo to the right ->
(Special thanks to William Maple for Lexington Stats – check scfootballstats.com and lexingtonwildcatsfootballstats.com for final stats updates after Nov 7th)
Hear comments from Coach Dean Howell and Coach Josh Stepp here:
Dean Howell pregame WKvsLex
Josh Stepp pregame WKvsLex
Josh Stepp postgame WKvsLex
Dean Howell postgame WKvsLex
ALSO TONIGHT – LEXINGTON BASKETBALL MIDNIGHT MADNESS!
More information here: http://friendscallmemike.com/?p=387
Friday Night, October 31, 2014 – River Bluff Gators Vs. White Knoll Timberwolves
The Z93 LexCo Football Game of the Week returned to Red Bank for the SC 4A Region 5 match up between the Gators and the T’wolves. This was the first varsity battle between the two football teams and each squad wanted this one bad! White Knoll opened the scoring with a 1st Qtr Field Goal, but River Bluff came back in the 2nd Qtr to take a 7-3 lead on a 15 yard pass TD from Brandon Tillmon to Daniel Kight. Following the kickoff, on the first play from scrimmage, Timberwolf Running Back E’mond Brown scampered around the left end for an 80 yard Touchdown! This gave White Knoll the lead of 10-7 with 9:50 remaining in the half. Four minutes later, Gator QB Brandon Tillmon found Tight End Trent Brittingham all alone in the endzone for a 4 yard play action pass TD. River Bluff retook the lead at 14-10, but it didn’t last long as White Knoll’s next score was set up by a 76 yard pass completion from Quarterback Calev Grubbs to Eddie Prestigiacomo! Grubbs completed the scoring drive with a 9 yard rush into the endzone, bringing the halftime score to 17-14 in favor of the Timberwolves.
The opening quarter of the second half proved to be a defensive battle. The Gators lost a fumble on their first drive of the third period, but got the ball back on an impressive interception by Diante Petrusso in River Bluff’s own endzone. Both defenses battled hard to keep their opposition from scoring and were successful until 4:42 remaining in the football game. On a fake reverse, QB Calev Grubbs connected on a 75 plus yard pass Touchdown to Jason Rumph, extending the White Knoll lead to 24-14. But River Bluff did not throw in the towel. The Gators battled back, charging down the field and with 18 seconds remaining in the game, Brandon Tillmon scored on a 2 yard rush, closing the gap to 24-21 in favor of the Wolves. On the ensuing onside kickoff, Justin Salters placed a perfect ball toward the River Bluff sideline, the White Knoll receivers were blocked successfully, and Davon Johnson recovered the kick to keep the Gator hopes alive! Brandon Tillmon completed a pass to the sideline with just a few seconds remaining, setting up a 52 yard Field Goal attempt for Justin Salters (Salters made the game winner in OT just a week earlier). Up until this point in the game, there had been a good breeze in Salters’ favor, but the wind was calm for the final few minutes of play. Salters gave it all he had with a strong, square kick right down the middle, but it fell just a yard or two short of the cross bar! The White Knoll Timberwolves protected their perfect region record at 4-0, 8-2 overall, and sealed their first ever Region Title with this big Region 5 Win. The River Bluff Gators drop to 2-2 in region play, 6-4 overall. Hear pre and postgame comments from Coach David Bennett and Coach Dean Howell here:
WK’s Dean Howell pre RB Oct31 14
RB’s David Bennett pre WK Oct31 14
Dean Howell postgame RBvsWK
David Bennett postgame RBvsWK
Friday Night, October 24, 2014 – North Augusta Yellow Jackets Vs. River Bluff Gators
Tonight was another barn burner in The Swamp and a big SC 4A Region 5 battle as the River Bluff Gators upset the North Augusta Yellow Jackets 20-17 in Overtime!
Here are the highlights: The Jackets struck first as QB Trib Reece connected with Blake Busby for a 12 yard TD Pass to go up 7-0 with 5:10 left in the 1st Quarter. Following a big interception by NA’s Rashad Byrd, the Yellow Jackets scored again at 3:28 in the 1st on a QB sneak by Trib Reece to go up 14-0. At this point, many thought that North Augusta was going to run away with the game, but the Gator defense continued to battle. River Bluff’s QB Brandon Tillmon also continued to battle and kept his team in the game with some key completions and carries to keep drives alive. River Bluff’s first real opportunity to get close to scoring position resulted in a Justin Salters Field Goal, making the score 14-3 with 5:10 remaining in the 1st Half. On the ensuing kickoff, North Augusta fumbled and the Gators recovered on the Jackets 23. Tillmon led his team down to the goal line, but with just seconds remaining in the half, the Gators’ QB was picked off, again by Rashad Byrd and he returned the ball 98 yards all the way to the River Bluff 2 yard line. A sideline penalty pushed the ball back to the 7 and with 5 seconds left in the half, North Augusta’s Blake Busby connected on a 17 yard Field Goal to bring the Halftime score to 17-3 in favor of the Jackets.
The second half brought a defensive entrenchment by both teams, kicked off by River Bluff’s tone setting stop of the Jackets 2nd Half opening drive. With 5:29 left in the 3rd, the Gators tightened the gap on a 2 yard TD run by Tijuan Glenn. The defensive struggle continued into the 4th Quarter as River Bluff’s Anthony Januchowski recovered an errant snap that flew over QB Trib Reece and into North Augusta territory with just over 4 minutes remaining in the ballgame. Gator QB Brandon Tillmon put together an impressive late drive that culminated in another 2 yard TD rush by Tijuan Glenn with 21 seconds left. Justin Salters added the tying PAT and the game was knotted at 17. North Augusta ran out the clock, deciding to take their chances in Overtime.
North Augusta had the ball first and gained ground down to the 6 yard line, but on the following play, QB Trib Reece was picked off by Gator Lucas Cox! North Augusta would now have to depend on their defense, but Coach David Bennett chose to go straight for the win on the boot of his impressive field goal kicker, Justin Salters. The Gators lined up on the 10 yard line, but Salters kick flew just wide left! However, the Yellow Jackets were called for Roughing the Kicker which gave Salters another chance. His second attempt was perfect, splitting the uprights, and leaving his mark on the windows of the enzone club, the Gator Commons! River Bluff’s comeback win was complete as they take the Region 5 upset over North Augusta 20-17!
Postgame comments from Coach David Bennett:
David Bennett postgame NAugVsRB Oct24 14
Pregame conversations with Coach Brian Thomas and Coach David Bennett:
Coach Brian Thomas NAugVsRB Oct24 14
Coach David Bennett NAugVsRB Oct24 14 (includes comments on previous game vs. Lexington)
I also had the opportunity to visit with Lexington’s Coach Josh Stepp following the game with River Bluff:
Coach Josh Stepp pre Irmo Oct24 14
Friday Night, October 17, 2014 – Lexington Wildcats Vs. River Bluff Gators
Wow, just wow! What a way to start a Cross Town Rivalry! The First Ever Wildcats Vs. Gators Cross Town Clash was played tonight and in terms of a great high school football battle, it did not disappoint! A little over a year ago, speculation began about what this game would bring and how neighbors and former teammates would battle on opposite sides of the playing field. Early in the season, most did not give River Bluff much of a chance, but the Gators came into the game at 5-2, fresh off of their first Region 5 win against South Aiken 23-13 last Friday. Lexington did not fare as well in their region opener last week, losing at home to North Augusta 21-7, and dropping the overall Wildcat record to 3-4. But throw records and speculation out the window tonight as these two teams made up of “backyard brothers” did battle at “The Swamp” – the home of the Gators!
River Bluff was the first team to put points on the board as QB Brandon Tillmon scored on a 37 yard run at 11:19 in the 2nd Quarter. The Gator PAT was missed left. River Bluff added 3 more points to go up 9-0 on a Justin Salters Field Goal from 22 yards with 5:32 left in the 2nd Quarter. Lexington continued to be challenged in getting their offense in gear, but salvaged 3 points of their own with :03 left in the 1st Half on Christian Kinsley’s 25 yard Field Goal.
The Wildcats were able to mix some run and pass combinations to start the 2nd Half after impressive defense against the Gators and scored their first Touchdown of the game on a 10 yard run by Jordan Carr at 5:16 remaining in the 3rd Quarter. Christian Kinsley added the PAT and the Cats had their first lead of the game at 10-9. After a strong Gator kickoff return and on the first play from scrimmage, River Bluff QB Brandon Tillmon broke another huge run of 64 yards to retake the lead! The Gator 2 point conversion attempt failed and River Bluff led 15-10. From there, the two teams traded possessions until the Gators put together a 4th Quarter drive that seemed as if they would be able to run out the clock. But with just over 2 minutes remaining in the ball game, Lexington forced River Bluff to punt. The Wildcats forged an impressive drive, found some rhythm, and with 0:58 remaining on the clock, Lexington’s QB Donny Baker found Tyler Schadewald in the back corner of the endzone for a 24 yard passing Touchdown! The Wildcats retake the lead, 16-15, but they also fail at the 2 point conversion.
Following the ensuing kickoff, River Bluff began moving the ball in hopes of getting to field goal range. The Gators made it into Wildcat territory, but with just seconds left, Jordan Carr picked off a Brandon Tillmon pass and the Wildcats were able to complete the comeback by running out the final seconds! Lexington improves to 4-4, 1-1 in Region 5 and the Gators fall to 5-3, also 1-1 in region play. Both of these teams played their hearts out and are to be commended on their efforts, but in the inaugural meeting between these two football teams, the Lexington Wildcats get the first ever win 16-15!
Hear comments from Coach Josh Stepp and Coach David Bennett below:
David Bennett pregame LexVsRB
Josh Stepp pregame LexVsRB
Coach Stepp was not available for halftime comments
David-Bennett-postgame-LexVsRB (first question from Chris Dearing, The State)
Friday Night, October 10, 2014 – North Augusta Yellow Jackets Vs. Lexington Wildcats
The Yellow Jackets defeated the Wildcats of Lexington 21-7 in what many say will determine the Region 5 Title. But there is a lot football left to be played! The Wildcat Defense was very strong, but Coach Stepp’s offensive squad had trouble finding a rhythm. The Cats put together a scoring drive late in the 4th quarter, including a 34 yard pass from Donny Baker to Tyler Schadewald, but the Yellow Jackets answered with an 80 yard running touchdown to clinch the win in the region opener. North Augusta remains undefeated, 7-0, 1-0, and Lexington falls to 3-4, 0-1 in Region 5. Hear the coaches comments here:
Pregame NAugusta Coach Brian Thomas Oct10 14
Pregame Lexington Coach Josh Stepp Oct10 14
Josh Stepp postgame NAug At Lex Oct1014 (from post game Reporters’ Pool)
FRIDAY FAVES SPECIAL INTERVIEW – 3 QUESTIONS, 3 COACHES, 3 TEAMS!
I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with three outstanding Lexington, SC area coaches this week as they prepare for SC 4A Region 5 play. Take a few minutes to hear perspective from Josh Stepp, Dean Howell, and David Bennett.
Friday Night, October 3, 2014 – Irmo Yellow Jackets Vs. Dutch Fork Silver Foxes
Looking to avenge their overtime and upset loss to Irmo last year 42-41, Dutch Fork welcomed in the Yellow Jackets to the home of the Silver Foxes! Both teams have seen some changes since last year – Dutch Fork, led by Head Coach Tom Knotts, came in as defending 4A Div.1 SC State Champions and Irmo entered the game with new Head Coach Reggie Kennedy, who coached Sumter High School against Dutch Fork in the State Championship last year. Irmo battled hard in the pouring rain of the first half, holding the Foxes to a 6-0 lead at the break. But as the rains calmed down in the second half, Dutch Fork’s offense cranked up and the Silver Foxes come away with a big rivalry win 27-7. Dutch Fork improves to 4-2 as Irmo falls to 0-6. Hear coaches comments below:
Irmo Coach Reggie Kennedy pregame Vs. Dutch Fork
Dutch Fork Coach Tom Knotts pregame Vs. Irmo
Tom Knotts postgame Vs Irmo Oct3,14
Friday Night, September 26, 2014 – Gilbert Indians Vs. Batesburg-Leesville Panthers
New Panthers Head Coach Perry Woolbright had his team ready to face their “next door neighbors” from Gilbert as B-L struck first on the scoreboard, set up by a 35 yard pass from Taylor Jackson to Jaquarius Hair. But the rest of the first half was all Gilbert as Coach Barry Harley’s Indians took a big lead of 21-6 into the intermission on two touchdowns by Trey Johnson and one TD by Jakayus Leaphart. In the 2nd half, the Panthers came roaring back in part because of 3 big turnovers by the Indians. The B-L team not willing to quit added 4 second half touchdowns, 2 by Terrance Wilson, and 2 by Austin Coleman, one of which was a 25 yard fumble recovery and return for the score. Gilbert kept pace adding two 2nd half TDs, one a 33 yard pass and score by Malik Bright, and the other a 14 yard keeper by Quarterback Nick Hendrix. At the end of regulation the two teams were knotted up at 35 points each! In overtime, the Panthers struck on their 1st play on a 10 yard keeper by Quarterback Taylor Jackson. It took Gilbert four plays, but Hendrix successfully found Tristan Register just inches from the back line of the endzone for the overtime TD. Gilbert lined up for the PAT, but the Panther defense manned up and blocked Zach Kilgore’s attempt to tie the game! The B-L Panthers come away with the huge victory 42-41 in the most exciting game heard yet this season on the Z93 ‘The Lake’ Lexington County High School Game of the Week!
Coach Perry Woolbright pregame vs Gilbert
Coach Barry Harley pregame vs B-L
B-L Coach Perry Woolbright after Gilbert win Special Thanks to Emerson Phillips (@EmersonPhillips) for allowing me to post his interview with Coach Perry Woolbright following the game!
(my own post game coaches comments fell victim to technical difficulties, my apologies)
Friday Night, September 19, 2014 – Swansea Tigers Vs. White Knoll Timberwolves
Coach Dean Howell’s White Knoll team, fresh off of their first win a week ago at Clover, welcomed in the visiting Swansea Tigers, coached by Chad Leaphart. Hoping to achieve their first season win, the Tigers’ QB Clay Lucas connected with WR Craig Johnson early for a 52 yard pass completion, setting up the first Touchdown of the game. But the Timberwolves came back and took control, especially in the second half. Quarterback Calev Grubbs, Running Back E’mond Brown, the Offensive Line, and the entire Timberwolf Defense were very successful and defeat Swansea by a score of 34-10. I enjoyed the opportunity to get comments from both coaches:
Pregame WhiteKnoll DHowell 9-19-14
Pregame Swansea CLeaphart 9-19-14
Dean Howell postgame Swansea At WhKnoll 9-19-14
Friday Night, September 12, 2014 – Newberry Bulldogs Vs. Chapin Eagles
Coach Phil Strickland brought his 2-0 Newberry Bulldogs to Chapin to take on the undefeated Eagles under the leadership of Coach Justin Gentry. The two I-26 neighbors battled hard and provided a great game for the faithful gathered at Chapin’s newly renovated football complex. The Eagles are working to repeat the 3A Region 4 Title they earned last year, but they came up short to the Bulldogs with the Final tally of 35-26. It was a pleasure to come in from the sidelines to fill in at Play by Play and call the action on Z93 ‘The Lake’ (93.1FM in the SC Midlands and online at lakemurrayradio.com). Hear both coaches’ pregame thoughts here:
Short Edit Pregame Chapin JGentry Sept1214
Pregame Newberry PStrickland Sept1214
(Was unable to get postgame coach comments due to being in press box to call play by play)
Friday Night, September 5, 2014 – Pelion Panthers Vs. Gilbert Indians
The Z93 Lexington County High School Game of the Week rolled into Gilbert, SC to cover the rivalry game between the Panthers and the Indians. Coach Ben Freeman’s 1-0 Pelion team with NC State commit Freddie Phillips was hoping to defeat Jakayus Leaphart and “The Tribe’ from Gilbert, headed up by Coach Barry Harley. The Indians took a 14-0 halftime lead due to ball mismanagement by the Panthers who had two big fumbles in the red zone early in the game and a controversial personal foul just before the end of the second quarter. After the break, Gilbert proved to be too strong on this night as they take their second win of the year and home opener 38-6 over Pelion in front of a packed crowd. Gilbert improves to 2-1, and Pelion takes their first loss of the year moving to 1-1. Hear comments from Coach Freeman and Coach Harley:
Pregame Pelion BFreeman Sept514
Short Edit Pregame Gilbert BHarley Sept514
BHarley postgame Gilbert Vs Pelion 9-5-14
Friday Night, August 29, 2014 – Lexington Wildcats Vs. Westside Rams
The Lexington Wildcats traveled to Anderson, SC for their season opener against the Westside Rams. Westside defeated Clover the previous week, coming into this week’s game 1-0. The Rams got out to a big lead behind Senior Quarterback Cal King, receivers Caleb Moss (Sr) and Rodriguez Thomas (Jr) and also Junior running back Quinn Wright as Westside takes a 28-7 lead into the halftime break. But just as much as the Rams controlled the first half, the Wildcats fight back in the second half as the Lexington defense holds Westside to just 3 points in the final two quarters. The Lexington offense roared to life with new Junior Quarterback Donny Baker making strikes to Junior receivers Jayson Hopper and Tyler Schadewald. Slade Carroll, Lexington’s Junior running back pounded out yards to keep the offense moving. Two late interceptions by the Westside defense kept the Wildcats away from the end zone and the valiant comeback fell just short as Lexington drops their season opener to the Rams 31-27.
Coach Josh Stepp pre and post game interviews below:
JStepp pregame Westside 8_29_14
JStepp postgame Westside Aug2914
THROWBACK – Friday Night, November 15, 2013 – Lexington at Dorman – Round 1 SC 4A State Playoffs
Coach Josh Stepp and North/South All Star Quarterback Will Hunter
As the excitement grows this week about the 2014 opening game for the Lexington Wildcats, I decided to take a look back at the last win for the Wildcats in 2013. The Cats came into the post season with a share of the 4A Region 5 title, a 9-2 record, and their only 2 regular season losses coming versus power house Spring Valley and the eventual 4A Division 1 State Champions, Dutch Fork. First year AD and Head Coach Josh Stepp kept his Lexington team focused on “Trust and Respect” throughout the season and provided solid leadership as his “Wildcat Family” defeated the Cavaliers of Dorman 42-28 to advance past the playoff opener. This game gave Cats fans cause to cheer about three team milestones: the first playoff win since 2010, the first defeat of Dorman in nine attempts, and the great achievement by four year starting quarterback Will Hunter surpassing 10,000 yards for his high school career. The Z93 LexCo HS Game of the Week was there to bring the action – listen below for pre and post game comments from Head Coach Josh Stepp:
JStepp pregame Dorman Nov1513
JStepp postDorman Nov1513
(my apologies for audio quality in second clip)
Friday Night, August 22, 2014 – Game 3 of River Bluff’s Kickoff Classic “Battle on the Bluff”
It was very exciting being back on the field for the Z93 Lexington County High School Game of the Week, especially for my first opportunity to call my alma mater Greenwood (Class of ’86!). Of course, it was disappointing to see the Eagles fall to the Silver Foxes of Dutch Fork, but they still have potential for a great season. I enjoyed conversations this week with Greenwood’s new AD and Head Football Coach Dan Pippin and know that his leadership will continue the great Eagle Tradition, but on this night they fall to the defending 4A Division 1 State Champions 45-19.
Saturday Night, August 23, 2014 – Game 5 of the “Battle on the Bluff”
Friday night got extended for this opening Week 0 for SC high school football as games 4 and 5 of this new and successful kickoff classic were played on Saturday. In the closing game, Westwood defeated the Gators of River Bluff on their home field in a big way 46-0. River Bluff’s Head Coach David Bennett, colorful as always, shared at half time on air on the Z93 Lexington County High School Game of the Week that the Gators had done some good things in the first half, but “then the Lake Murray Dam BROKE!” Hear Coach Bennett’s pre and post game comments below:
DBennett pregame Westwood Aug2314
DBennett postgame Westwood Aug2314