Thursday night football in Lexington County
For the third straight year, the Gilbert football team earned a first-round home game in the Class 3A playoffs.
The 35-7 road win over Pelion clinched second place in Region 5-3A for the Indians (6-3, 3-1). Cody Temples rushed for two first-half touchdowns and Jy Tolen connected with Matt Reed for a 33-yard touchdown pass to give Gilbert a 21-0 halftime lead.Two of the scores were the result of fumble recoveries by the Indians.
Gilbert will not play a Week 11 contest and will open the Class 3A playoffs at home.
“I feel like we have played a very tough schedule this season and even though we have had a few losses, we have finished strong and I know our kids are battle tested,” said head coach Chad Leaphart, whose record is 28-6 in three seasons at his alma mater. “Looking forward to getting the playoffs started and making a run.”
River Bluff 35, Lexington 21
River Bluff took advantage of mistakes and turnovers by crosstown rival Lexington to jump out to a lead it never relinquished en route to a 35-21 win.
The victory was the first in five meetings by the Gators over the Wildcats since the program’s inception. It also earned River Bluff (8-1, 3-1) its first-ever home playoff game in two weeks.
“It’s been a long time for our community and I think they were hungry for this,” River Bluff head coach C. Blair Hardin said. “The second half wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it for sure.”
River Bluff put 14 points on the board in the first quarter, with quarterback Michael Rikard keeping it for the first score and Antonio Gantt running the second one in from the 2-yard line. Running back Braden Walker, who was helped off the field by team assistants following the game with an ankle injury, put the Gators ahead 21-0.
The Wildcats (5-4, 2-2) forced a turnover late in the second quarter and mounted their first scoring drive of the game to make it 21-7 at the half. Quarterback Cal Herndon connected with William Crouch for a 15-yard score.
Opening the third quarter with a 66 yard reception from Akeem Nicholas, who rushed for a career-best 259 yards, set up the quarterback keeper from Herndon to close the gap to 21-14.
River Bluff responded with a scoring drive of its own to bounce back to 28-14 on a 9-yard touchdown run by Walker. He finished with 179 rushing yards.
The Gators then capitalized off an interception by Branden Rivers that set up a 36-yard touchdown pass by Rikard to tight end Cleberne Gray to extend the lead to 35-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Both Rikard and Herndon threw for 108 yards.
Nicholas scored on a 23-yard run with 3:28 left in the contest.
Dutch Fork 63, White Knoll 0
The top-ranked and two-time defending Class 5A champions closed out its 20th straight region and overall win with another dominating performance.
Quarterback Ty Olenchuk threw six touchdowns on 14-16 passing for 294 yards. Jalin Hyatt was the recipient of three of Olenchuk’s scoring passes of 7, 18 and 46 yards, all in the first half and finished with seven receptions for 162 yards.
The Silver Foxes’ defense held White Knoll (4-6, 0-4) to a season-low 88 total yards in their season finale. Quarterback Aveon Smith accounted for 82 total yards.
Dutch Fork (8-0, 4-0) is still looking to schedule a Week 11 contest.
Sumter 27, Irmo 9
Angel Camerena kicked three field goals to account for all the Yellow Jackets’ points in the loss to the undefeated Gamecocks.
Irmo (5-4, 2-2) led 6-0 in the first half when Sumter (9-0, 4-0) scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter. The Gamecocks capitalized off a blocked punt to take the lead on Jonathan Henry’s 9-yard touchdown run and added a Tylee Craft touchdown reception.
After the Yellow Jackets got within 14-9, Sumter added a touchdown pass to KeShawn Croskey and another score to close out the win.
Saluda 24, Batesburg-Leesville 21
Francisco Yepez’s 31-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Tigers to their fourth straight win over the Panthers.
The loss also clinched third place in Region 2-2A for Saluda, while B-L (4-5, 2-3) dropped to fourth.
The game was tied on three occasions when Saluda (6-4, 2-2) recovered a B-L fumble at the 44-yard line with 2:31 left in the contest. A pass interference penalty moved Saluda to the B-L 29 and it ran three more plays before Yepez’s game-winner.
B-L will play host to Lexington Nov. 1 in the regular-season finale.