Falcons prey on Bengals in round 1

Though Blythewood’s defense was a bright spot in Friday night’s playoff matchup, the Bengals came up short. | Ross Burton

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood rang in the opening of the South Carolina High School League 5A State Playoffs with a home-match up against the Nation Ford Falcons and what ensued was a 48-minute defensive battle. Despite out-gaining Nation Ford 314 total yards to 233, the Bengals were not able to find the end-zone and were edged out 14-5.

The first quarter came without the threat of either team scoring, but on the last play of the quarter Jaylon Boyd busted through the defense for a 34-yard run. Boyd was pulled down inside the Nation Ford 20-yard line, but the Bengals were forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal from Miles Heitman.

Nation Ford chipped their way into Blythewood territory on their next drive, but the possession stalled out on an unsuccessful fourth down pass. After the turnover on downs, the Bengals took over on their own 36-yard line but were unable to take advantage of the good field position.

Later in the second quarter, Nathan Mahaffey turned on the jets and scurried past the Blythewood defense for an 80-yard touchdown. Mahaffey had a monster 215-yard performance on 23 carries.

Jayden Addison came up with a big sack on Nation Ford quarterback Gabe Huitt and forced a fumble with three minutes left in the half. Nic Rogers scooped up the loose ball at the Nation Ford 17-yard line.

The Bengals were not able to cash in on the turnover, and again had to fall back on the leg of Heitman. Heitman set up from 23-yards out, but the kick attempt wide-right. He was 4-4 in the regular season from 20-29 yards and only missed one field goal.

The half ended with Nation Ford leading 7-3. Heitman booted the opening second-half kickoff 59-yards, and the Falcons were forced to set up on their own three-yard line. Three plays later, Brady Carson downed Mahaffey in the end-zone for a safety.

An 18-yard run from Jaylon Boyd later in the quarter landed the Bengals deep in Nation Ford territory. The Falcons forced and recovered a fumble before the Bengals could snatch the lead away.

Mahaffey put the game away for the Falcons with another massive touchdown run in the fourth quarter. After a Blythewood pass interference call kept Nation Ford’s drive alive, Mahaffey broke off a 67-yard touchdown run.

The Bengals had chances late. They made three more trips to Nation Ford’s side of the field, including two-more red zone visits, but on all three occasions Blythewood turned the ball over. King Ford was picked off twice and fumbled.

Scoring

BHS– 0-3-2-0–5

NFHS– 0-7-0-7-14

Second Quarter

BHS – Miles Heitman 28 field field.10:06.

NFHS – Nathan Mahaffey 80 run (Quin Castner kick).4:55

Third Quarter

BHS – Team Safety.11:01.

Fourth Quarter

NFHS – N.Mahaffey 67 run (Q.Castner kick).10:07.

TEAM STATS             BHS                        NFHS

First Downs                17                         8

Rushes/Yards             39-138                  31-195

Passing Yards             176                       38

C-A-I-TD                       12-25-2-0          8-17–0-0

Fumbles/ Lost             4/2                       3/2

Penalties/Yards          10-93                  5-19

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing:  NFHS-  Nathan Mahaffey 23-215, Kaleb Starnes 1-1 .BHS – Jaylon Boyd 12-116, King Ford 10-28, Jordan Burrell 6-4, Brandon Edwards 2-2.

Receiving:  NFHS – Kaleb Starnes 3-11, Nathan Mahaffey 2-17, Harrison Cohen 1-5, Steven McFadden 1-3, Petey Tuipulotu 1-2. BHS – Brandon Edwards 5-49, David Patten 3-45, Jacob Owens 2-38, Jaylon Boyd 1-23, Joshua Burrell 1-21.

Passing:  NFHS – Gabe Huitt 8-17, 38 yards. BHS – King Ford 11-23, 175 yards, two interception. Joshua Burrell 1-2, one yard.