Caps’ rally dashes Indian Land hopes

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By Eric Rowell

COLUMBIA – Indian Land’s inability to put the ball in the end zone proved to be their demise in the opening round of the Class AA Division I Upper State playoffs on Friday night, Nov. 8 at Memorial Stadium.

The Columbia Capitals, 4-7, used 18 unanswered second-half points to hold off the Warriors, 18-5.

Indian Land’s defense held the Capitols to only 39 total first half yards and the Warrior offense moved the ball effectively between the 20s.

IL’s play kept the Capitols’ offense on the sidelines in the first half.

The Warriors collected 104 total first half yards, 175 for the game.

“Our defense played a great game,” IL coach Mike Mayer said.  “The offense was very anemic.

“Our offense had the ball inside their 33 four times and only got three points out of it. You can’t win games without scoring points.”

Indian Land opened the scoring on a Shea Rodgers’ 30-yard field goal with 27.7 seconds left in the first period. Indian Land drove 44 yards in eight plays before the drive stalled on the 12-yard line.

After forcing Columbia to a three-and-out on their next possession, Indian Land was on the move again. Indian Land’s Austin Gordon plowed 21 yards on the first play to put the Warriors inside the Caps’ 20, but Columbia’s defense tightened and Rodgers’ second field goal on the night sailed wide left.

On Columbia’s next possession, Indian Land’s Austin Currence came up big with a sack of Columbia quarterback, William Gossette, in the end zone for a safety and a 5-0 Warrior lead, with 7:30 left in the half.

After being shut out in the first half, Columbia came out firing to start the second half.

Columbia rolled up 265 total yards of offense to make up for the dismal showing in the first half.  On the first play of the second half, Gossette hit Diante Petruso for a 20-yard gain that put the Capitols in Indian Land territory.

Six plays later, Quinn Carolina was in the end zone after a 14-yard TD run. The two-point conversion failed and with 9:47 left in the third quarter, the Capitols had the lead, 6-5.

Columbia continued its offensive ways, adding a score on a 82-yard pass from Gossette to Darrius Richardson for the TD.  The two-point conversion failed and Columbia led 12-5 with 3:28 left in the third.

“I told the team we could win this game with 17 points, but we had to play mistake free,” Mayer said.   “Unfortunately, we had too many turnovers and too many mistakes.”

Indian Land’s Manny Delgado intercepted Gossette in the end zone to stop another potential Columbia score and gave new life to the Warriors. But the new life was short lived when Indian Land quarterback George Morris gave the ball right back to the Capitals on an interception by Julius Mack.

Columbia took advantage of the turnover and drove 29 yards in five plays and on third and goal at the three, Kimone Shaw was in the end zone for the score.  After the two-point conversion failed, Columbia led 18-5.

“Outside of a few mental mistakes our defense played a great game and kept us in the game,” Mayer said. “It was much like our season. We made a few plays in spots, but weren’t consistent as we needed to be.”