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IL Warriors blitz Jackets

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Indian Land caps 9-win season in rout of BHS

By Eric Rowell

 

BUFORD – Indian Land scored early and often on the way to a 41-13 win over county foe Buford on Friday night at BHS’s Jackets Stadium.

The Warriors’ 28-point win capped Conference IV-AA regular-season football play, giving IL the runner-up spot and a home berth in the Class AA Upper State playoffs on Friday. Indian Land is slated to host Columbia, which improved to 6-4 with a 35-6 win over Keenan on Friday night.

In the win over Buford, which gave IL a season’s sweep of the Jackets, the Warriors scored on the ground, through the air and on the defensive side of the football to give them a first-ever 9-win regular-season finish.

“This has been a fun season for these players and myself,” IL coach Mike Mayer said. “A lot of folks didn’t think we could have this kind of season.

“It’s been a lot of hard work going back to the spring, summer workouts and preseason drills,” Mayer said.

Indian Land, which opened the season with a 28-13 home win over BHS, launched the scoring on a 20-yard run by Rondreas Truesdale on a fourth-down play. A Jarrell Robinson interception led to the five-play, 42-yard drive. Chad Thomas added the extra point for a 7-0 first-quarter lead.

Buford gave the ball right back to the Warriors, fumbling on the ensuing kickoff. Truesdale’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Mace capped the 38-yard drive for a 14-0 lead after Thomas converted with 1:34 left in the first period.

“Turnovers hurt us tonight,” Buford coach Mike Wells said. “We say each week if we protect the football, we have a shot to win, but tonight Indian Land capitalized on ever opportunity they got. We gave them too many chances.”

Buford didn’t back down and came back on its next possession as BHS went on a 12-play, 70-yard drive capped off by Jay Chambers’ 13-yard touchdown run. Mikeem McKinney added the conversion to slice the IL lead in half, 14-7.

“Our offense moved the ball well and the offensive line did a great job up front,” Wells said.

Indian Land tallied twice before the half ended to take control of the game with a 21-point edge.

Truesdale, who ran for 188 yards in 15 carries, scored his second rushing touchdown of the night with 3:58 left before half on a third-and-15 snap at the BHS 44.

Truesdale broke away from the Jackets’ defense and dashed 44 yards for the score. Thomas drilled the extra point for a 21-7 IL edge.

Breyon Williams tallied on a 21-yard run to extend IL advantage to 28-7 at the half. Williams’ score capped a 31-yard, five-play snap for IL.

“We played well tonight against a tough rival,” Mayer said. “I was proud of the effort and enthusiasm we showed. Both of these teams always get up for this one.”

Buford battled the Warriors, with Montra Wright’s 42-yard kickoff return putting the Jackets in IL territory. Buford drove in for the score as Scott Catledge reached the end zone on a 13-yard run to slice the Warriors’ lead to 28-13 with 7:01 to play in the third period.

Indian Land answered in a hurry to regain the momentum on Truesdale’s 58-yard scoring run. Thomas tacked on the extra point for a 35-13 edge.

“Indian Land has a lot of speed and once those backs break the line of scrimmage, it’s hard to stop them,” Wells said. “They were able to break containment and do damage.”

The final IL score came as a result of a 54-yard, seven-play drive that ended, with an alert Mace picking up a Williams’ fumble at the BHS five-yard line and sprinting into the end zone. Thomas’ kick was off the mark, his first miss of the season.

“These players have worked hard and have shown a lot of character to get where we are at this point,” Mayer said. “We have to continue to work hard and get sharper for the playoffs. It’s a whole new season and our goal is to play as long as possible.”