Westwood tops RNE, hosts playoff game

Warren Rogers (44) | Photo: Leroy Howard

COLUMBIA – The Westwood football team may well have been on the ropes Friday night against Richland Northeast. But the Redhawks refused to go down.

Westwood trailed the Cavaliers 19-13 but scored the go-ahead touchdown on Dylon O’Neal’s 20-yard scoring strike to Kashon Harrison with three minutes left.

A goal-line stand at the 1-yard line with 30 seconds left secured Blythewood’s 21-19 victory over RNE.

“Any time you can win a game like that it gives the kids a lot of confidence,” head coach Robert O’Connell said. “It’s exciting for our kids and it’s validating for our program.”

The win originally gave the Redhawks (3-7, 2-2 Region 5-4A) a fourth-place finish in the region. With second-place finisher Ridge View’s season ended because of the High School League’s decision on the eligibility of three players, Irmo (6-4, 2-3) moved to second place behind region champion A.C. Flora (10-0, 5-0), Westwood moved to third, and Lugoff-Elgin (4-6, 1-4) moved to fourth.

Richland Northeast (2-8, 1-4) received an at-large bid in the playoffs and will travel to South Florence Friday.

Instead of going on the road, Westwood will play home against Bluffton (4-6, 2-3 Region 7).

“When that stuff happened it took us from being on the road to playing at home, so it definitely had an impact on us,” O’Connell said. “Bluffton is probably a little like us. They’re playing under a first-year staff, but they are really athletic and really talented. It will definitely be a test for sure.”

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