Greenville, S.C. - After three teams opened their 2015 last Friday, the remainder of teams opened up this weekend. In a busy night around the gridiron in Greenville County Athletics, all 14 teams were in action.
Hillcrest vs. Mauldin
In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Mauldin High’s Freeman Field Friday night, Hillcrest looked as if had not missed a beat from its Class AAAA Division I state championship in 2014. Collin Sneed had more than 350 yards total offense, while J.D. Ballenger rushed for 127 yards as the Rams cruised to a 61-18 win against their Golden Strip rival.
After winning the first region championship in school history in 2013 and the first state title in school history in 2014, Friday’s win marked another first for Hillcrest. This senior class will be the first that never lost to Mauldin.
After Zay Simmons blocked a rugby-style punt by Mauldin on its opening possession, Hillcrest was set up at the Mavs’ 25-yard line. Ballenger ran for 24 yards on the Rams first offensive play, then scored from a yard out on the next play.
Sneed accounted for Hillcrest’s second-quarter scoring. After a 43-yard strike to Brian Spurgeon, Sneed rolled to his left on the next play and raced down the sideline for a 19-yard touchdown. With 1:02 left in the half, Sneed hit Jaleel Thomas in stride in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.
It appeared the Rams would take a 26-0 lead into the halftime break, but on the final play of the half Mauldin quarterback Dre Harris threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Matt Atkins.
Hillcrest was undaunted by the stunning play to end the first half. Two plays into the second half, Sneed and Spurgeon connected on a 49-yard touchdown to extend the Rams’ lead to 33-6.
Sneed completed 13 of 18 passes for 286 yards and added 97 yards rushing. His longest play of the night came on third-and-13 from Hillcrest’s 1-yard line, when he ran for a 77-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
Wren vs. Woodmont
Wren High School held off a second half rally from Woodmont High School as the Hurricanes scored three touchdowns in the first half to beat the Wildcats 28-14.
On the first play from scrimmage, the host Wildcats sacked Wren quarterback Jay Urich, and forced a quick punt. The Wildcats picked up 47 yards and first downs on their first three plays, eventually driving to the Wren 2-yard line.
That’s when the momentum changed. A botched snap, followed by an interception and, three plays later, a 94-yard pass from Urich to Bailey Rogers, redirected the Hurricanes, who scored three first-half touchdowns. That was enough as Wren held off a second-half rally for a 28-14 victory.
Southside vs. J.L. Mann
Looking to turn the page on a 2-9 season in 2014, J.L. Mann opened 2015 at home against an equally determined Southside. J.L. Mann came up short as Southside defeated J.L. Mann, 20-16.
In the non-region matchup between Class AAA Southside and AAAA Mann, Southside quarterback Jawun Prince showed the benefits of being a four-year starter.
The Patriots countered with a productive 10-point second quarter. Josh Samuel’s run from the Southside 1 and a PAT with 26 seconds on the clock before the break gave Mann the one-point advantage.
Ahead 10-6 at halftime, Mann running back Samuel added a 5-yard touchdown to build on the Patriots’ lead at 8:40. Donovan’s PAT streak came to an end, but his team was ahead, 16-6.
Prince and Washington again connected, this time on a 20-yard touchdown pass, and with the PAT, the Tigers closed the gap to 16-13 at 5:54 in the third.
In the fourth, Southside reclaimed the lead, 20-16, with less than 10 minutes to play on Isaiah Neubia’s 62-yard reception from Prince.
Greer vs. Clinton
With skill-position standouts starring on offense, defense and special teams, Greer High opened a promising season in style Friday night with a 40-8 win at Clinton’s Wilder Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets mounted a 99-yard touchdown drive on their first possession to set the tone.
Adrian McGee returned a squibbed kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown, and he rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on offense while making several tackles on defense.
Virginia Tech commitment Troy Pride returned an interception 55 yards for a score, and he added two receptions for 55 yards on offense. Dorian Lindsey also grabbed an interception and added three receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Though the team statistics measured much closer than the score — Clinton totaled 303 yards while Greer totaled 365 — the Red Devils didn’t score until the Yellow Jackets were well in control with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.
Greer quarterback Mario Cusano completed seven of 15 passes for 104 yards and Lindsey’s score while adding 98 yards on 11 rushing attempts.
Carolina Academy vs. Berea
Berea High School took control of the game early as they raced out to a 34-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Carolina Academy answered back with 14 quick points in the fourth quarter but that would as close as they would get as Berea came away with a 34-21 victory.
Berea’s Kamal Carter recovered a fumbled on a punt and returned it to the red-zone leading to an early first quarter score.
Carolina Academy broke onto the scoreboard in the second quarter with an 86 yard touchdown reception.
Eastside vs. Riverside
In a relocated game at Wade Hampton High School, Eastside claimed the territory in defeating rival Riverside 25-0 in both teams' season opener Friday night.
A botched Riverside snap on a punt gave the Eagles the first lead of the game, 2-0, with 7:48 to play in the first half. The Eagles struck again just over five minutes later when quarterback T.J. Gist dumped off a pass to sophomore Chance Pride for a 10-yard score.
Another mishandled snap on a punt on the Warriors' first drive of the second half made the game 11-0.
The rushing game ultimately sealed a victory, however, for Wilson's squad. The Eagles accumulated 161 yards on 29 carries. Consecutive runs of 12, 10, 10, and 16 yards by senior running back Jovani Lawton culminated in the game's second touchdown and an 18-0 lead on Eastside's first drive of the second half.
The final Eastside score would come via a second Gist-to-Pride connection, this time for a 47-yard score.
Wade Hampton vs. Blue Ridge
Wade Hampton scored all its points in the first half and held off Blue Ridge, 28-24, Friday at Blue Ridge High School. Wade Hampton built a 28-7 lead at halftime. Blue Ridge scored 17 points in the second half and kept Wade Hampton scoreless.
Travelers Rest vs. Landrum
Travelers Rest High School improved to 2-0 on the season after a 41-7 victory over Landrum High School on Friday night. This was Travelers Rest home opener for the season. Travelers Rest has a bye next week and returns to action on Sept. 11 as they travel to Powersville.
Greenville vs. SenecaGreenville High dropped their 2015 season opener to Seneca High School, 56-27, on Friday night at Seneca High School. This is the second straight season Greenville has opened the season with a loss to Seneca High School. Greenville returns to action on Sept. 4 when they travel to Fort Mill, S.C. to face Fort Mill High School.