Blythewood clenches win in fourth

The Bengals will close out the season at Gaffney on Friday. | Anthony Montgomery

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood football team may have missed the cut on a shortened playoff season, but the Bengals ended finished Region 4-5A play in the truncated regular season on a good note with a 30-15 victory over Rock Hill Thursday night at District Two Stadium.

Quarterback Angelo Donato, starting in his third game since starter Jordan Burrell went down with a foot injury, had his most complete game yet. The transfer from Wake Christian Academy in Raleigh completed 12 of 19 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for the Bengals (2-2 region, 3-2 overall). He also rushed 14 times for 70 yards, including a 40-yard TD run.

“You’ve gotta give credit to Angelo,” Blythewood head coach Jason Seidel said. “It’s taken some time, but he had a great day, no turnovers. He did everything we asked him to do, and to see him have a great day, I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of the kids, and especially proud of the defense. I’m so happy for them.” 

With prep football limited to region play plus one game in a shortened season—in addition to game cancellations and postponements because of exposure to players who later tested positive for COVID-19—every region game had a higher importance.

Because of the tight timeframe, playoff berths went from four per region to two. Northwestern (4-0, 5-0) and Ridge View (3-1, 5-1) grabbed those slots. Blythewood took third, Spring Valley (1-3, 1-4) fourth, and Rock Hill (0-4, 0-5) finished last.

After a series of stumbles and fumbles from both teams, Blythewood got on the scoreboard on its second possession on a 67-yard drive that lasted all of two Donato plays. 

The senior transfer from Wake Christian in Raleigh fired a 27-yard pass to Josh Burrell to get the Bengals at the Rock Hill 40-yard line. Donato then kept the ball on perfectly executed bootleg that enabled him to dash 40 yards for a score at the 4:29 mark of the first quarter.

On the next possession Donato found Noble Cooper in the end zone for a 41-yard TD pass with 1:33 left in the first.

Rock Hill answered with Cam Walker’s 13-yard TD run with 5:27 left in the second quarter, but Blythewood made it 18-7 when Donato hit Chase Smith in the end zone from 9 yards out with 3:37 left in the first half. 

“The O-line did a good job for us and we wanted to attack some deep balls early in the game,” Seidel said. “I felt like in the last couple of games we were just throwing everything short. We needed to go after them early. I felt like with the storm’s coming in, I said ‘let’s throw early.”

Rock Hill opened the second half forcing a Blythewood punt. The Bearcats then drove 80 yards on 13 plays and scored on a Robbie Ouzts 1-yard TD drive. The Rock Hill tight end and 2020 Mr. Football finalist then rumbled into the end zone untouched for the 2-point conversion that cut Blythewood’s lead to 18-15 at the 3:55 mark of the third.

“Eighty-one (Ouzts) might be one of the best tight ends I’ve seen in a long time. He’s a weapon,” Seidel said.

That was as close as the Bearcats could get to changing the momentum. Blythwood drove 89 yards on 11 plays and scored in the final seconds of the third quarter on an Angelo Donato-to-Josh Burrell touchdown pass of 26-yards on fourth-and-14.

Up 24-15, the Bengals defense stopped the Bearcats on three straight drives in the fourth quarter.

Chad Ishmael broke up a pass to turn the ball over on downs on the first possession. The Bengals then forced Rock Hill to settle for a 33-yard field goal attempt that went wide right, and iced the game when they forced a fumble at the Bearcats’ 38-yard line.

The offense needed three plays to set up the final score of the game, Dhani Dixon’s 14-yard touchdown run with one minute left.

For Josh Burrell, who committed to Florida State last spring, Friday’s game took on a higher level of importance. Burrell finished the night with five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

“Just being able to come out and play with my guys, seeing Angelo come out and ball after not his best performance last week (6-for-13 for 29 yards and an interception in a 7-0 loss at Ridge View), we were able to bounce back,” Burrell said. “All our receivers got into the act, Noble (Cooper), Chase (Smith), and Chad Ishmael were all around the ball.”

The Bengals travel to Gaffney Friday to close out the season.

Rock Hill  – 0-7-8-0 – 15

BHS – 12-6-0-12 – 30

First Quarter

B – Angelo Donato 40 run (kick failed) 4:29

B – Noble Cooper 41 pass from Donato (pass failed) 1:33

Second Quarter

R – Cam Walker 13 run (Ethan Dutton kick) 5:27

B – Chase Smith 9 pass from Donato (run failed) 3:37

Third Quarter

R – Robbie Ouzts 1 run (Ouzts run) 3:55

B – Josh Burrell 26 pass from Donato (pass failed) :11

Fourth Quarter

B – Dhani Dixon 14 run (kick failed) 1:00

                                         Rock Hill            BHS

First Downs                        16                     18

Rushes-Yards                     39-110          34-187

Passing Yards                     152                 182

Att-Com-Int                        32-17-1        19-12-0

Fumbles-Lost                      2-1                3-0

Penalties-Yards                 10-107          10-103

Punts-Avg.                          3-28.7           5-26.8          

RUSHING: Rock Hill – Cam Walker 23-110, Anthony Arnette 2-16, Robbie Ouzts 3-15, Chandler Hayes 2-8, Matthew Wilson 9-(-39). Blythewood – Dhani Dixon 14-70, Angelo Donato 8-50, Desmond Boatwright 7-32, Josh Burrell 1-4.

PASSING: Rock Hill – Matthew Wilson 17-31-1-152, Jackson Roberts 0-1-0-0. Blythewood – Angelo Donato 12-19-0-182.

RECEIVING: Rock Hill – Miles Cross 10-50, Robbie Ouzts 3-42, Cam Walker 2-37, Xion Kilbourn 2-23. Blythewood – Josh Burrell 5-90, Noble Cooper 3-72, Jake Parker 1-3, chase Smith 2-15, Dhani Dixon 1-1.