Copperheads best Redhawks in round one

Jordan Jenkins (13) | Leroy oward

BLYTHEWOOD – Westwood got a couple of big plays Friday night at District Two Stadium, but three drives that expired inside the Catawba Ridge 25-yard line cost the Redhawks.

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Copperheads from Region 3-4A used the steady running of beastly Tyler Jones to hold off No.2 Westwood 28-20 in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

Camren Brown’s 64-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Harrison in the first quarter and Julian Milligan’s 61-yard touchdown run in the second quarter floated the Redhawks (5-5) into the second half. Westwood suffered two four-and-outs inside the Copperheads’ 25-yard line in the first quarter, and had two more turnovers on downs in the second half.

“We made some costly mistakes on offense, a blocked punt, our blocking schemes didn’t work out,” Westwood head coach Matt Quinn said. “They were shooting some gaps that we weren’t expecting, showed us some things that we didn’t see on film. My hat’s off to those guys, they played a good ballgame.”

The key for For Catawba Ridge (6-4) was Jones. He finished the night with 163 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. He was also on the receiving end of a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass that turned out to be the game-winning score.

“He’s been the workhorse for us,” Copperheads head coach Zak Lendyak said. “We gave him the ball a lot, and he can run downhill like that and be as physical as he is in this kind of weather. He’s a great kid and a great running back.”

Catawba Ridge moves on to play at No.1 seed Greenwood. The Eagles blew past No.4 Pickens Friday. The Copperheads fell to Greenwood 17-14 earlier in the season.

“It’s gonna be a fun game, man,” Lendyak said. “They’re playing very good football right now, they’re very physical football team. They came to us and we lost by three, so we’ve got some high expectations. Any time you see a team twice that beats you (the first time), you naturally think, hey man, that’s one that we’ve got to go get, and they’re probably thinking the exact same thing.”

With the game knotted at 14, Catawba Ridge took the kickoff to start the second half. Eight short-yardage plays into the drive, the Copperheads faced a third-and-long at the Redhawks’ 41-yard line. Westwood flushed Davis out of the pocket, but the Catawba Ridge quarterback found a wide open Jones on the right sideline. The 5-11, 220-pound Jones caught the pass and, hugging the sidelines, thundered past Redhawk defenders for the score.

The Copperheads held a 21-14 lead through the third quarter, but Westwood started a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive on the last play of that quarter. Milligan helped set up the score with a 29-yard run, which enabled Brown to connect with Harrison under the goalpost from five yards out. Unfortunately for the Redhawks, the 2-point conversion run failed and Catawba Ridge clung to a 21-20 lead with 9:20 left.

The Copperheads strengthened their lead on their next possession. After Jones’ 11-yard run put them at the 1-yard line, Davis dove in on the quarterback sneak to give them a 28-20 lead with 6:10 left.

Westwood had plenty of time to even the score, but Brown felt heavy pressure from Catawba Ridge’s pass rush. The Redhawks drove to the Copperheads’ 42-yard line, but failed to convert on fourth down for the fourth time in the game.

Catawba Ridge took over from the 42 and moved the ball long enough to run out the clock for the win.

“We wanted to come out and know that we had to live to fight another day,” Lendyak said. “We just wanted to have a chance to go as far as this team can go.”

Catawba Ridge took its first possession of the game to the end zone via a 25-yard Jadyn Davis-to-Trevor Testerman touchdown connection.

That score was bookended with Westwood’s turning the ball over on downs at the Copperheads 18- and 23-yard lines on its first two drives of the game.

In spite of those letdowns, two big plays kept the Redhawks in the game at halftime.

The first came early in the second quarter, when Brown hit Harrison in stride on the right sideline. Harrison raced the rest of the way to complete a 64-yard touchdown pass play.

After the Copperheads struck again on a 5-yard Jones TD run at the 3:07 mark of the second, the Redhawks evened the score at 14 quickly.

On the first play from scrimmage following the kickoff, Milligan took the handoff and burst through a hole the offensive line made on the left side. The senior running back sprinted 61 yards for the score with 2:51 left to tie the game at 14.

Both teams had short possessions before going into the locker room tied at halftime. As the second half though, Catawba Ridge ground out the clock with 17 Jones carries for 85 yards.

The Copperheads defense contained Brown and most of his receivers the rest of the way.

“We had to understand that when he got loose, he was going to make big plays and stretch the field,” Lendyak said. “We knew he was going to make plays, but we couldn’t give up the big one. We gave up twice in the first half, but we felt like if we could get him down, we live to fight another day, kind of a bend, don’t break mentality there.”

Westwood’s Noah Jennings, who had more than 100 receiving yards in each of the three previous games, finished the night with just one catch for 15 yards.

Harrison, however, led all receivers with four catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Milligan turned in another triple-digit-yardage performance, with 17 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown.

Westwood loses 25 seniors from the team that captured the school’s first region championship (shared with Irmo and A.C. Flora) in 12 years of the Westwood’s existence. Quinn said those seniors will be greatly missed—and well-remembered. 

“These kids fought,” Quinn said. You start the year 1-4 and finish it 4-1, you can’t fault these kids for the way that they kept battling every day. They fought through adversity, and then we go into a ballgame against a really good team and played our tails off to the very end. I’m proud of these kids.”

Quinn added that the team members this year built a stepping stone for future teams, but for this Friday night, his heart hurt for the seniors who will never get to play football again.

“Some of those guys will be lucky enough to get to play in college, but ultimately this is some of these guys’ last football game,” Quinn said. “That’s the hardest part about nights like tonight, it’s just about seeing those guys and loving up on them and telling them how proud you are of them and for everything that they’ve done for this program. They built some things that this program has never seen. Never seen a region championship. Haven’t had a home playoff game in seven years. They’ve laid the foundation for the future of this program and I’m proud of those guys.”

Catawba Ridge – 7-7-7-7 — 28

Westwood – 0-14-0-6 — 20

First Quarter  

C –  Trevor Testerman 25 pass from Jadyn Davis (Matthew Carlyon kick) 6:44

Second Quarter   

W –  Jayden Harrison 64 pass from Camren Brown (Brown run) 9:32

C – Tyler Jones 5 run (Carlyon kick) 3:07

W – Julian Milligan 61 run (run failed) 2:51

Third Quarter  

C -Jones 41 pass from Davis (Carlyon kick) 9:04 

Fourth Quarter   

W –  Harrison 5 pass from Brown (run failed) 9:30

C –  Davis 1 run (Carlyon kick) 6:10

                                                CR                   WHS  

First Downs                          18                   17 

Rushes-Yards                     41-195          35-188  

Passing Yards                     147                 174  

Att-Com-Int                        16-9-1          23-10-0  

Fumbles-Lost                      1-1                 1-0  

Penalties-Yards                 2-15               4-40  

Punts-Avg                           2-38.5           2-32.0  


RUSHING: Catawba Ridge – Tyler Jones 31-163, Jadyn Davis 5-11, Ira Mister 5-21. Westwood – Julian Milligan 17-161, Camren Brown 12-16, Isaac Junious 1-2, Jayden Harrison 1-(-2), Lavelle Ramsey 4-(-11).

PASSING: Catawba Ridge – Jadyn Davis 9-16-1 Westwood – Camren Brown 10-23-0.

RECEIVING: Catawba Ridge – Jacobie Henderson 3-41, Trevor Testerman 3-42, Brandon Raysor 2-23, Tyler Jones 1-41. Westwood – Jayden Harrison 4-97, Zyree Lee 4-43, Jordan Jenkins 1-19, Noah Jennings 1-15. 

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