STROM THURMOND 35, BATESBURG-LEESVILLE 28
JOHNSTON — The game was filled with several big offensive plays, but, in the end it came down to two defensive plays by Strom Thurmond.
The biggest, an interception by senior linebacker Cody Griffith on the Rebels 20 yard line with a little over a minute to play in the game, which preserved the 35-28 victory.
“I just dropped back into coverage and made a good play on the ball, Griffith said. “We’ve been working on that a lot and the repetition from practice paid off for me on that play.”
The stop came after Delonte Bates put the Rebels ahead with a four-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left in the game.
It wasn’t the only crucial stop the defense picked up in the fourth quarter. The Rebels stopped the Panthers on fourth down on their previous offensive possession as well.
“Our guys, when they had to make a stop, they did. That was fourth and less than a foot and Jonte Nathaniel made a heck of a play,” head coach Lee Sawyer said of the defensive lineman who broke into the backfield for the stop. “You have to tip your hat to (Batesburg-Leesville) they had a heck of a game plan and they executed it, but Cody played that ball perfectly at the end.”
The Panther and Rebels traded shots on offense the entire game. A majority of the damage done by the Panthers was on the ground.
“Nobody has been able to stop the run yet,” Batesburg-Leesville head coach Jerry Brown said. “We really ran the ball well and we threw it effectively too, other than that last pass.”
The Rebels had success on the ground as well. Quarterback Jauveer Hammond led the way with 154 rushing yards on 13 carries.
“I’m just proud of our guys for not quitting there were a lot of big plays their guys made and we could’ve gotten down, but we didn’t,” Sawyer said. “I’m just proud they won a pressure packed game after some adversity. Our kids were starting to doubt a bit especially after the pick but (Hammond) is such a leader, he didn’t get rattled.”
Hammond connected on 11 of 15 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Strom Thurmond will travel to South Aiken next week, and Sawyer believes the win will be good for the teams psyche.
“They should have a lot of confidence that they can comeback when their backs against the wall, Sawyer said.
Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard.
ST 0 14 14 7
BL 7 7 14 0
BL– Jacquiel Chandler 19 pass to Dontavious Morris (Alex Caughman kick) 2:24
ST– Chad Gilchrist 7 run (Cole Fells kick) 11:12
ST– Trevonte Watkins 4 run (Fells kick) 5:52
BL– Terrence Wilson 9 run (Caughman kick) 6:35
BL– Gilchrist 1 run (Fells kick)
ST– Wilson 20 run (Caughman kick) 6:53
ST– Jauveer Hammond 20 pass to Deandre Ryan (Fells kick) :30
BL– Wilson 85 kick return (Caughman kick) :14
ST– Delonte Bates 4 run (Fells kick) 2:19
ST– Bates 15-81 TD, Hammond 13-154, Chad Gilchrist 8-31 2 TD, Deandre Ryan 2-15, Trevonte Watkins 1-4 TD, Tyree Stidem 1-16
BL– Rickie Smith 21-73, Terrence Wilson 10-79-2 TD, Jacquiel Chandler 5-35, Ray Norris 2-49
ST– Hammond 11-15-98-1TD INT
BL– Chandler 4-5-56-1TD INT
ST– Stidem 4-38, Ryan 2-38 TD, Gilchrist 2-7, Watkins 1-7, Ben Clements 1-4, Kendal Hill 1-4
BL– Ray Norris 2-20, Dontavious Morris 1-19-1 TD, Wilson 1-17
ST– Cody Griffith
BL– Jaquarius Hair