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CHERAW – The Indian Land Warriors tried to play spoiler to a happy Cheraw High School homecoming on Friday, Oct. 4, but the host Braves proved to be homecoming kings, beating the Warriors 12-6 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Cheraw’s Baylen English caught an 88-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robert Pitts with 5:23 left to break a 6-all tie and take the wind out of the Indian Land sails of momentum.
The Warriors had pinned the Braves deep in their territory after a 55-yard punt by Shea Rodgers.
The Warrior defense had kept Cheraw’s offense out of synch and in their own territory all night.
The IL defense forced two Cheraw turnovers and sacked Pitts twice.
Paul Husienga recovered a Cheraw fumble and Chris Blakeney had an interception.
IL’s Scotty McCauley and Tyler Canty posted sacks.
The Braves’ average starting position was their 15-yard line.
“Shea Rodgers did a great job kicking for us tonight. We kept them on a long field all night and the defense had some great stands,” IL coach Mike Mayer said.
On what proved to be the decisive play, English made the 15-yard catch and was able to break free of Terrell White, who was defending on the play. English then raced 88 yards for the go-ahead TD.
The extra point was no good, giving Indian Land hope of a game-winning drive.
Indian Land started its final drive of the night at its 33 and only 5:15 to work with in the game.
Warriors’ senior quarterback George Morris piloted the Warrior offense down the field and with a little help from a face mask on Cheraw, the Warriors were at the Braves’ 35.
The Warrior offense had 176 yards of total offense for the game.
The Braves defense stiffened and on fourth down, a pressured Morris just missed an open Manny McCord across the middle to seal the Braves’ win.
“This may have been our best effort of the year. It was consistent and we played the whole four quarters,” said Mayer. “I’m really proud of the way we played and can’t help not to be crushed because we didn’t win.”
The Braves got on the board first on a nine-yard run by Stephon Harrington.
Harrington scored two plays after Dejahn Campbell intercepted Morris and returned it 65 yards to the Indian Land nine.
The two-point conversion was no good and Cheraw lead 6-0 with 9:32 left in the first half.
Shea Rodgers connected on a 35-yard field goal with 1.1 seconds left in the half to cut Cheraw’s lead in half, 6-3 at the break.
Indian Land tied the game at 6-all late in the third quarter on a 20-yard Rodgers’ field goal with only 16 seconds left.
“We just need to go back to work and get that next win,” Mayer said. “This team has a lot of character and we can get over the hump and put together some wins. We played hard tonight and we will need that type effort the rest of the way in this region.”
Indian Land, 1-5, will look to get on track as the Warriors host Chesterfield High School, which fell to Central of Pageland, 30-21 on Friday night.