Greer Wins Battle of the Backs

 

Westwood’s Christian Brown gives Greer’s Marquis Lyles a taste of the stiff-arm during Friday night’s playoff struggle. (Photo/Ross Burton)

GREER – The vastly improved Redhawk football team has good reason to hold their heads high, despite the season-ending loss in the closest game of the season. Westwood travelled to Greer on a rainy night to take on the Yellow Jackets in this Class 3A second-round playoff game. On a last second desperation field goal, Greer narrowly prevailed, 45-42.

The game was one of the best of the season for the spectators. High-scoring with lots of big plays made the game exciting from start to finish. The game turned on a dime several times throughout, and it was just one of those games where it was a shame somebody had to lose.

The Yellow Jackets were basically a one-play team because of Quez Nesbitt, a startlingly quick and evasive running back. Of the 33 running plays that Greer ran, 26 were handoffs to Nesbitt. However, sometimes one play in the playbook is enough, as Greer proved.

Before the game, head coach Rodney Summers knew well what the team had to do.

“The key to offense is that Christian Brown has to run the ball,” Summers said. “Adonus (Lee) and Vyncint (Smith) have to make a few catches. It’s going to be tough to throw the ball. They have some good covered corners. On defense we have to stop their running back, he’s a good running back, real fast.

The Greer running back wasted no time in showing just how fast he was. On the first play after the kickoff, Nesbitt took the ball from quarterback Mario Cusano and charged 71 yards downfield for the touchdown, only 23 seconds into the game.

The Redhawks were able to even the score on a 12-play drive that was all Christian Brown with a couple of Patterson keepers thrown in. The drive was marked with mostly short yardage carries with one 32-yard run from the Westwood 41-yard line to the Greer 27.

The Nesbitt show continued in the next Yellow Jacket possession when he took the ball on his own 33-yard line and ran it in 67 yards for the score. With successful PAT kicks, the score stood at 14-7, Greer.

Nothing doing for either team on the next possessions, but thanks to a 35-yard punt return by Deante Drakeford, Westwood set up shop on the 50-yard line. A few short yardage plays, followed by a 32-yard run by Brown, evened things up with 3:39 to go in the first half. Each team had another opportunity to score before halftime, but the clock ran out with the score tied 14-14. This is the second playoff game in a row for Westwood where the teams went into the locker room tied.

Summers was not happy with the way things were going for his Redhawks,

“I’m glad we’re still in it,” Summers said at the break. “That half was awful. Their running back is good; he’s going to make some big plays. We’re moving the ball, we just haven’t had the big plays. I hope we come out in the second half and play like we did last week.”

The second half began much as the first half did. Westwood received the kickoff, but went three–and-out. On the first play after the short Redhawk punt, Nesbitt again broke free of all defenders and ran the ball 50 yards for the touchdown. Westwood caught a small break when Tyriek Bell blocked Roberson’s point-after kick.

Westwood came right back at the Yellow Jackets in this battle of the running backs as Brown carried the ball 40 yards and 23 yards respectively, for six points. Neither team would score again until late in the third quarter when Greer again took advantage of a short Westwood punt. Nesbitt again ran the ball into the end zone with big yardage.

The final quarter was a score–fest by both teams as the battle of the unstoppable running backs continued. Each team scored on each drive. Chris Patterson tied the game 42-42 when he scored on a quarterback keeper with 2:41 on the clock.

The Redhawk defense made things difficult for Nesbitt and company as time was running out. It looked like overtime was looming. With two seconds to go, Greer’s field goal unit took the field for a 37-yard attempt. To everyone’s surprise, including the Greer kicker, the ball sailed between the uprights for the victory.

After the game, Summers was disappointed but respectful of the way both teams played.

“We would have loved to keep it going, but it came down to those running backs on both sides of the ball,” Summers said. “Greer had an outstanding night. The play was not lopsided either way, they were a good running team.”

 

WHS – 7-7-7-21 – 42

GHS – 14-0-14-17 – 45

 

First Quarter

GHS – Quez Nesbitt 71 run. Nick Roberson kick. (11:37)

WHS – Christian Brown 2 run. Quinton Kleinert kick. (3:39)

GHS – Q. Nesbitt 67 run. N. Roberson kick. (1:14)

Second Quarter

WHS – C. Brown 32 run. Q. Kleinert kick. (3:39)

Third Quarter

GHS – Q. Nesbitt 50 run. Kick blocked. (10:08)

WHIS – C. Brown 23 run. Q. Kleinert kick. (8:52)

GHS – Q. Nesbitt 27 run. Emanuel Kelly 3 run. (1:18)

Fourth Quarter

WHS – C. Brown 6 run. Q. Kleinert kick. (10:30)

GHS – E. Kelly 18 run. N. Roberson kick. (8:11)

WHS – C. Brown 34 run. Q. Kleinert kick. (5:50)

GHS – E. Kelly 31 run. N. Roberson kick. (5:07)

WHS – Chris Patterson 3 run. Q. Kleinter kick. (2:41)

GHS – N. Roberson 37 FG. (0:02)

 

                                                WHS                            GHS

First Downs                             22                                18

Rushes/Yards                          61/433                         33/413

Passing Yards                          0                                  64

C-A-I                                        0-7-0                            8-14-0

Fumbles/Lost                           3-2                               1-0

Penalties/Yards                       4-35                             6-91

 

RUSHING: GHS – Q. Nesbitt 26-364, E. Kelly 4-45, Mario Cusano 2-4. WHS – Christian Brown 46-395, Chris Patterson 15-38.

RECEIVING: GHS – E. Kelly 3-20, Dorian Lindsey 2-20, Q. Nesbitt 2-13, Adrian McGee 1-11. WHS – None.

PASSING: GHS – Mario Cusano 8-13, 64 yards. WHS – Chris Patterson 0-7.