Second-Half Surge Lifts Redhawks into Round 2

 

John Trapp turns the corner on the Colleton County defense and heads for the end zone. (Photo/Ross Burton)

WHS-34, Colleton County-10

BLYTHEWOOD – Friday Night, after a shaky first half, the Westwood Redhawks came back and outplayed the Cougars of Colleton County High School by scoring 21 unanswered points to take the first round of the Class 4A/Division 2 playoffs, 34-10.

“In the playoffs you can throw record books out the window,” Westwood head coach Rodney Summers said before the game. “Here it’s win or go home.”

The game began magnificently for Westwood. John Trapp caught the opening kickoff on his own 21-yard line, and bobbed and weaved among defenders and teammates alike for a gain of 79 yards and the touchdown. Brandon Howard, again perfect for the night on extra points, split the uprights to give the team a 7-0 lead in the first 13 seconds of the game.

The Cougars came right back at the Redhawks. The ensuing kickoff was caught by Justin Williams and downed on the Cougar 37-yard line. A costly personal foul penalty against Westwood landed the Cougars in Westwood territory to begin their drive. Colleton moved the ball steadily on the ground, moving the chains three times on their way to the Redhawk 1, where quarterback Craig Grant blasted his way right up the middle for the score and a tie ball game.

A successful onside kickoff gave the Cougars the ball on the Westwood 45, but it was all for naught when they couldn’t capitalize on this subsequent possession.

The teams traded three- or four-and-out drives until close to the end of the quarter when Andrew Plante took the ball 53 yards into the Cougar red zone. A third-down pass to Adonus Lee fell incomplete, and the Redhawks had to settle for the field goal and a 10-7 lead.

Westwood caught a break right as the second quarter opened when Shanard Stokes forced a Cougar fumble, which was recovered deep in Cougar territory by Westwood’s Anthony Douglas. The Colleton defense again held strong and limited the fumble damage to another field goal.

The closing minutes of the second quarter were not kind to the Redhawks. With four minutes to go in the half, Westwood took over the ball on downs on the Cougar 23-yard line. Normally with the Redhawks with a first down in or near the opposing red zone, a touchdown soon follows, often in the hands of Plante or a keeper by quarterback Nick Leveretter. However, Leveretter was sacked three plays in a row, and on the third sack, Leveretter fumbled with the Cougars recovering.

Facing a short field with 2:17 to go in the half, the smart money was on the Cougars going into the locker room leading 14-13. However, the Westwood defense was starting to wake up, and held Colleton County to just a field goal, preserving a slim 13-10 Redhawk lead.

“We are missing on the deep balls,” Summers said at the half. “We need to get the offense running. We are just missing out on some opportunities.”

A different Redhawk team emerged from the locker room from the team that went in. The usual tough-as-nails defense was back, and the offense did, in fact, start running successful plays. The Cougars received the kickoff, but were held to minus 5 yards before having to punt. After a botched 24-yard punt, Westwood had the short field. They kept the ball on the ground but for one nice pass from Leveretter to Lee, who was downed at the Cougar 9. Plante, moving the ball a couple of yards at a time, scored from the 2, giving the team a 20-10 lead while eating up the clock along the way.

The Redhawks scored on each of their next two possessions, courtesy of Trapp who had three great carries of 25, 20 and 32 yards. On the second of the two possessions, feeling desperate, the Cougars went for the fourth down conversion and lost 4 yards on the play, giving the Redhawks a great scoring opportunity as they only had 34 yards to go to cross the goal line.

The Cougars never got any offense going for the remainder of the quarter, and it was just a matter of running out the clock, and playing some second and third team Redhawk players. At the final Buzzer, the scoreboard showed the bad news for Colleton and playoff advancement for the Redhawks.

“In the second half, we challenged them and we played much better,” Summers said. “We still missed some deep balls, but once again, we’ll take it. At halftime I told them just to go execute and we will be fine. Remember the fundamentals we were working on. I’m pleased. A little upset at the first half, a little scared there, they came to play.”

The Redhawks will host Greenwood High School in round two Friday night at Richland 2 Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Greenwood, a 5-seed, edged out 12th-seeded Laurens last week, 12-6, in Greenwood.

 

CC: 7-3-0-0 – 10

WHS: 10-3-7-14 – 34

 

Scoring

First Quarter

WHS – John Trapp 79 kickoff return (Brandon Howard kick). 11:47.

CC – Craig Grant 1 run (Riley Downing kick). 8:38.

WHS – Brandon Howard 33 FG. 0:36.

Second Quarter

WHS – B. Howard 24 FG. 9:26.

CC – Riley Downing 36 FG. 00:00.

Third Quarter

WHS – Andrew Plante 2 run (B. Howard kick). 5:14.

Fourth Quarter

WHS – J. Trapp 3 run (B. Howard kick). 11:01.

WHS – J. Trapp 32 run (B. Howard kick). 8:51.

 

Team Stats

                                                                CC                                           WHS

First Downs                                        9                                              8

Rushes/Yards                                    45-39                                     42-204

Passing Yards                                     7                                              7

C-A-I                                                      1-9-0                                      1-8-0

Fumbles/Lost                                    5-1                                          2-1

Penalties/Yards                                  5-35                                       8-86

 

Individual Stats

RUSHING: CC – T. David 19-45, D. Stevens 9-26, T. Johnson 2-2, C Grant 8-(-1), L. Nieves 3-(-8), J. Williams 4-(-25). WHS – Andrew Plante 15-116, John Trapp 11-74, Rudy Mitchell 3-11, Montre Miller 1-6, Jalen Smith 3-5, Nick Leveretter 9-(-8).

RECEIVING: CC – T. Johnson 1-7. WHS – Adonus Lee 1-7.

PASSING: CC – Craig Grant 1-7, 7 yards; Justin Williams 0-2. WHS – Nick Leveretter 1-8, 7 yards.

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