Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Carvers Bay held off Estill last week to advance to Friday's Class A Lower State final.
“They're a tough team, they never quit,” said Bears coach James “Nate” Thompson. “We knew coming in that we had to play a complete ball game. We knew offensively they were going to be very good. [Defensively] we knew we were going to bend with them, we just didn't want to break with them.”
It's the Bears first trip to the finals since 2008. That year was the third straight Lower State championship for Carvers Bay.
Devin Cuttino outran the Estill defense for a 64-yard touchdown to give the Bears the early lead.
Less than two minutes later, Estill's Jarvis Singleton tied the score at 6-6 with an 83-yard touchdown run.
Cuttino's second touchdown of the game with about 7 minutes left in the first half gave Carvers Bay a 12-6 lead.
DeAngelo Bryant tied the score at 12-12 with less than 2 minutes left in the half.
Cuttino's third touchdown run of the game gave the Bears a 20-12 lead with about 8 minutes left in the third quarter.
Carvers Bay took advantage of a 41-yard Hikeem Hampton punt return about halfway through the fourth quarter and drove inside Estill's 5-yard-line, but a fumble gave the Gators the ball on the 8-yard-line with about 3 minutes left in the game.
Estill drove down the field to Carvers Bay's 8-yard-line, but the Bears' defense held, and a penalty knocked the Gators back to the 29-yard-line. A last gasp throw on fourth down sailed out of bounds, sealing the Carvers Bay victory.
Cuttino led the Bears offense with 101 rushing yards. He also had 93 yards on kickoff returns and 31 yards on punt returns.
Hampton had 83 rushing yards, Terry Bromell had 29, Raheem Dease had 22, and Chris Carter had 20.
Thompson's plan was the use as many running backs as he could so that everybody had fresh legs, putting more pressure on the Estill defense.
“What we wanted to do was wear them down,” Thompson said. “I noticed in the fourth quarter they were tired. … We just totally dominated on offense because they were tired on defense from running and chasing.”
Israel Davis passed for 27 yards, 15 to Brandon Young and 12 to Carter.
Hampton added 79 yards on kickoff and punt returns.
Darius Carr led the Bears defense with nine tackles and a sack. Naquez Pringle had seven tackles and a sack; Trevor DeKine and Terrence Richard had five tackles each; Lewis Morant had four tackles and a sack; Dease,
Carter and Marquiese Goss had four tackles each; Hampton had three tackles and an interception; and Cuttino had three tackles and a sack.
“We can't never let down on nobody,” Pringle said. “Honestly, it was the best team I think [we've] faced all year so far.”
Carvers Bay (11-1) hosts Allendale-Fairfax on Friday night for the Lower State title. The Tigers (9-2) beat Hemingway 18-7 last week.
“They're good. They're very, very good,” Thompson said.
“A lot of schools still underestimate us,” Cuttino said. “With us being a family, we want it for our brothers. [We've] got a lot riding on this, we've put in a lot of time and effort and work.”
The winner advances to the Class A championship game on Nov. 29 at Benedict College in Columbia.
After losing in the first round of the playoffs last year, the Bears are hungry for a title.
“We remember what happened last year and we don't want that same struggle,” Pringle said. “We don't to be leaving with tears this year.”
The Yellow Jackets couldn't overcome an injury to starting quarterback Ethan Wright in a 30-0 loss to Bishop England last week.
Trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Andrews was inside the Bishops' 20-yard-line driving for a touchdown when Wright caught his cleat in the turf and broke his ankle.
After that, “we just couldn't get any offense [going],” coach Scott Durham said.
Bishop England came into the game averaging over 300 rushing yards a game. Andrews held them to 137.
“I thought our defense played great,” Durham said.
Carlos Smalls led the Andrews offense with 97 rushing yards. William Lewis added 21.
C.J. Bone and Cecil Murphy filled in for Wright and went 4-for-16 passing for 24 yards, all to Josh Robinson.
Durham was pleased overall with the team's performance during his first season at Andrews.
“We're disappointed that we didn't go any farther than we did,” he said, “but taking over a team that won two games and not having a spring and not having a summer, I thought we did pretty well. I think we laid the foundation.”
The Yellow Jackets will start hitting the weight room after the Thanksgiving break, with an eye toward spring practice.
The Warriors lost 41-8 to Lake Marion last week in their first second-round playoff game since 1995.
“I'm proud of the effort of our kids. Lake Marion is a very good football team,” said Waccamaw coach Tyronne Davis. “We didn't take advantage of their mistakes. Unlike last week when we were a step ahead of Edisto.”
The Gators got the only touchdown of the first half, but Waccamaw blocked the extra point to keep the score 6-0.
Lake Marion extended the lead to 13-0 with a 65-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Waccamaw got on the board 5 minutes into the second half on a 9-yard touchdown run by Stephon Funnye.
Lake Marion then scored 28 unanswered points to advance to the next round, leaving the Warriors and the large group of fans who traveled to the game turning their attention to next season.
“It was exciting for the fans and for the players,” Davis said. “[It was] a good thing to happen to us this year. A good thing for our seniors, I'm really proud of the effort they gave.”
Despite winning a playoff game for the first time in nearly 20 years, Davis and his staff are left to wonder what could have been if not for a rash of injuries during the season.
“Overall, we saw some good things and we saw some things we've still got to work on to become a better
program,” Davis said. “We didn't expect the injuries to pile up on us. We've got to develop some depth [next season].”
Many of the Warriors are now taking weight lifting classes and training with Gordon Walters, the team's strength and conditioning coach.
“It's going to help or program overall,” Davis said. “We'll have them in the weight room every day.”