The Axe stays at Blythewood

Blythewood’s win over Westwood means the Bengals will own The Axe for another year. | @BHSBengalFB

BLYTHEWOOD – The Battle for the Axe Friday night was more of a fight between crosstown rivals Westwood and Blythewood to give the axe to each other.

The Bengals’ turnovers and turnovers on downs gave the Redhawks ample opportunities to make a run. Likewise, Westwood’s stalled drives and poor field position always put Blythewood within striking distance.

By the final quarter at Westwood’s District Two Stadium, it was clear that momentum had swung firmly to the Bengals’ side.

Blythewood overcame zero offensive points in the first half and scored 22 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Redhawks 30-20, retaining the Jeanne Schmidt Memorial Trophy for a second straight year.

Blythewood (2-1) head coach James Martin, who after his first two games stressed that the offense needed to be more productive and consistent, was much lighter.

“Last week I was down on myself because of productivity, but this is a lot different,” Martin said. “I love these types of games. It’s emotional, and credit to Westwood, they did a phenomenal job the whole game. To win this two years in a row now is something special, and as the head coach it’s even more special because it’s about the community. We talk about building relationships everywhere we go, and this is another building block to what we’re trying to get accomplished here.”

Down 13-8 going into the fourth quarter, Harrison Collins found Trent Lewis for an 8-yard touchdown pass for the go-ahead score. Blythewood got the 2-point conversion run to go up 16-13 four seconds into the final quarter.

Chase Brown gave Blythewood a 23-13 lead with 5:39 left on his 9-yard TD run.

Westwood made a quick drive that Carrington Carter finished with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Chase Simmons at the 3:46 mark to make it 23-20.

The Redhawks chose to kick the ball deep instead of try for an onside kick, and Blythewood responded with a 2-minute drive capped with a game-clenching 31-yard Collins-to-Kaleb Kelly TD pass with 1:19 left.

Westwood turned the ball over on downs and the clock ticked away.

“We’re really young, and we’re dealing with a lot of guys who haven’t had a lot of success,” Westwood head coach Robert O’Connell said. “The thing is learning how to win. We’ve been in games where we had a chance to win, but it’s really hard if you’ve never done it. We’ve just got to keep working, and if it’s one thing I know, these kids are going to fight. They play for 48 minutes and I’m proud of them. We’ve just got to keep working.”

Westwood struggled to move the football whether by air or on the ground in the first half. The Redhawks had 21 rushing yards on 19 carries, and their 69 yards passing included a 50-yard catch-and-run play that brought Westwood to the Blythewood 30-yard line.

That drive ended with a turnover on downs. 

But the Redhawks’ offensive struggles hardly mattered as the Bengals offense failed to convert.

Blythewood’s passing attack was limited in the first half because of drops and overthrows. Collins went 3-for-10 for 18 yards and an interception in the first quarter. The Bengals’ 77 net rushing yards kept them on the move–sort of.

Blythewood’s first possession ended with Collins throwing an interception to Westwood’s Dominic Young near the goal line.

While Young’s pick halted a Bengal scoring drive late in the first quarter, Westwood took a safety on the next play.

Blythewood led 2-0, until another fateful mistake happened. On fourth-and-long at their own 16-yard line, Bengals punter Ashton Davis was back to punt around the goal line. Ashton bobbled the snap and Westwood recovered at the Blythewood 5-yard line.

Two plays later Antwan Nelson burst into the end zone at the 6:19 mark of the second quarter.

After that score Blythewood watched a long drive die as Zahir Jones fumbled a potential touchdown into the end zone for a touchback and Blythewood had another possession end with a turnover on downs.

“I was really proud of our defense, especially in the first half, the way they played,” O’Connell said.

The Blythewood defense kept the game from getting out of hand. Besides the safety, Bengals accounted for three sacks in the first half.

“I told the defense at halftime, y’all are playing your tails off, and keep doing it,” Martin said. “We’re going to come back and win this. And I challenged our offense that it’s our job to catch the ball and quit dropping the ball. We had too many drops tonight. And that’s a change of two halves.”

At game’s end the Blythewood defense limited Westwood to 49 net rushing yards and 12 first downs.

Despite the Blythewood offense’s ability to end drives short of a score—an interception, two fumbles, two turnovers on downs and two punts—four of their last five drives resulted in a touchdown.

“We told our kids before the game, it’s not how we start the game, but how we finish,” Martin said.

Blythewood plays host to Lexington and Westwood is at White Knoll Friday. 

Blythewood – 2-0-6-22 – 30

Westwood – 0-7-6-7 – 20

First Quarter

B – Team safety 2:30

Second Quarter

W – Antwan Nelson 2 run (Cullen Henderson kick) 6:19

Third Quarter

B – Zahir Jones 17 run (run failed) 8:11

W – Nelson 33 pass from Carrington Carter (pass failed) 2:00 

Fourth Quarter

B – Trent Lewis 8 pass from Harrison Collins (run) 11:56

B – Chase Brown 9 run (Kyle Whisenant kick) 5:39

W – Chase Simmons 18 pass from Carter (Henderson kick) 3:46

B – Kaleb Kelly 31 pass from Collins (Whisenant kick) 1:19

                                                BHS               WHS

First downs                          20                   12

Rushes-Yards                     35-199          32-49

Passing yards                      252                 225

Att-Com-Int                        32-19-1        19-14-0

Fumbles-lost                       2-2                 0-0

Penalties-yards                  5-35               2-10

Punts-Avg                           2-30.5           6-33.5



B-Quinton Solomon 9-55, Traveze Benefield 1-12, Chase Brown12-71, Kanye Reed 2-28, Zahir Jones 7-57, Harrison Collins 4-(-24). W-Antwan Nelson 11-14, Quentin McGill Jr. 12-39.


B-Harrison Collins 19-32-1. W-Carrington Carter 14-19-0.


B-Kanye Reed 8-111, Kaleb Kelly 6-86, Quinton Solomon 2-13, Trent Lewis 3-42. W-Miles Grant 2-37, Quentin McGill Jr. 1-4, Antwan Nelson 5-127, Jayvyn Canty 1-5, Chase Simmons 4-60, Dominic Young 1-(-2).

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]