Westwood wins big in first round

Cam Atkins (11) picks up extra yards among Eagle defenders. | Leroy Howard

TAYLORS – For the third season in a row, Westwood High School football entered the South Carolina High School League’s Class 4A Playoffs as an underdog. And, for the third season in a row, the Redhawks rose to the challenge.

Westwood was pitted against Eastside High School in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Eastside entered the game as a two seed, ranking No. 8 in the Class 4A poll and boasting an 8-2 record. The Redhawks blasted the Eagles to the tune of a 70-52 win, eliminating Eastside from playoff contention.

The battle for the lead commenced with the game’s start as both teams scored early. Eastside got on the board first, but the Redhawks responded quickly with a Cam Atkins 30-yard touchdown reception from Ahmon Green.  A two-point conversion gave Westwood their first lead of the game, 8-7.

A late first-quarter field goal and then touchdown from Eastside gave the Eagles a 10-8 advantage early in the second quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Nick Gilliam rushed 55 yards to close the lead 17-14.  Both teams continued their scoring bouts, but Westwood took a 30-24 lead at the half.

The Redhawks extended the lead in the third with a touchdown from Green. Another two-point conversion gave Westwood a 38-24 lead. Gilliam struck again with a 65 yard score with 6:26 left in the third quarter, and Green again on a 7-yard keeper at the start of the fourth. Westwood took a 54-38 lead.

Eastside scored two more touchdowns in the final period, but the Redhawks used their offensive arsenal to keep the game out of reach. Christian Horn tallied two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game at its final of 70-52.

The Redhawks produced 638 total yards of offense in the win. Green accounted for 361 total yards and seven touchdowns – 214 yards and four passing touchdowns; 147 yards rushing with three touchdowns. Gilliam averaged 12.41 yards per carry. He had 17 carries for 211 yards and two scores. Horn had eight receptions for 115 yards and three touchdowns. Atkins managed 87 yards and a touchdown in six receptions.

The win marked coach Matt Quinn’s first playoff win as head coach Westwood’s 70 points broke the previous school record of most scored in a game, previously 56, set against Lugoff-Elgin in 2016.

The Redhawks advance to a second-round game against Daniel High School. Daniel currently sits at 10-0 on the season. The top seed took out Lancaster 38-6 in the first round.