Leonard Price Field was the site of another offensive slugfest.
This time, however, the home contest for the Gilbert football team was played to its conclusion.
The Indians defeated Batesburg-Leesville 52-35 to improve to 2-0 on the season. This marked the first time in school history Gilbert had defeated its crosstown rival four straight years and saw it rally from an early 14-0 deficit by scoring 35 unanswered points.
“It was another crazy game,” head coach Chad Leaphart said. “Defensively, we forced a couple key turnovers and that made the difference.
Batesburg-Leesville took a 7-0 lead on a 33-yard touchdown pass by Tre Robinson to Jenavas Williams. Following a Gilbert turnover, Marvin Gantt scored on the first of two touchdowns to extend the Panthers’ lead to 14-0 with 10:47 left in the first quarter.
Quarterback Jy Tolen put Gilbert on the board with a two-yard keeper to cut the deficit to 14-7 in the second quarter. Batesburg-Leesville marked downfield and Gantt added his 2nd touchdown on a 4-yard run to make it 21-7.
Gantt finished with 24 carries for 155 yards.
The Indians scored 21 points over the final three minutes of the half. Tolen scored on a 14-yard run, then after the Indians recovered a Batesburg-Leesville fumble, connected with Dre Harris on a screen pass he turned into a 77-yard touchdown reception with 1:21 left to tie the game after the PAT.
With 8.8 seconds left and facing a fourth down at its own 23, the Panthers opted to go for the first down. As Gantt was stopped in the backfield, he lost the football and John Stewart returned it for the go-ahead score with 5 seconds left to send the Indians into the lockerroom up 28-21.
“The play by John Stewart was a huge one giving us the lead right before halftime,” Leaphart said.
Gilbert scored on the opening drive of the second half on Dre Cook’s 23-yard scoring run. On the next series, Ty Walker raced in from 16 yards to put the Indians up 42-21.
Robinson ended Gilbert’s scoring run with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Lorick. The PAT was blocked and the Indians answered in the 4th quarter with a 29-yard field goal by Rajan Cheema.
Robinson completed his third touchdown pass of the game to Shauntrell Hendriz for 67 yards. He added the two-point conversion to bring Batesburg-Leesville to within 45-35 with 7:41 left.
Tolen sealed the victory with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Alec Holt. He finished 26-36 for 327 yards and two touchdowns to go with two rushing scores.
“No doubt Jy is comfortable and playing well,” Leaphart said. “He’s doing a great job getting the ball to a lot of different guys.”
Gilbert closes out its homestand next week against Lexington. It’s the Sonic Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week and will air on Spectrum Cable 1250.
Batesburg-Leesville (1-1) plays its home opener against Newberry.
OTHER LEXINGTON COUNTY/TOWN OF IRMO SCORES
Brookland-Cayce 35, Airport 32
Dutch Fork 46, Spring Valley 0
Lexington 41, Dreher 0
Chapin 35, Mid-Carolina 20
Calhoun County 27, Pelion 0
Gray Collegiate 63, Swansea 12
Irmo 43, Keenan 7
Andrew Jackson Academy 64, W.W. King 0
White Knoll 56, Colleton County 21
Laurens Academy 50, Northside Christian 32