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For The Lancaster News
BUFORD – The rematch saw the Chesterfield Rams gain a measure of revenge.
Host Buford, facing the Rams for the second time this season, saw its 2012 football season come to an abrupt end Friday night.
The visiting Chesterfield Rams, who fell to BHS 43-39 three weeks ago in week nine regular-season play, turned the tables on the Jackets with a 47-14 win in the second round of the Class AA Division II Upper State playoffs at Jackets Stadium.
The Jackets entered the Friday, Nov. 9 clash well rested after receiving a first-round round bye, while CHS hosted and defeated Batesburg-Leesville, 44-42 to earn a return trip back to BHS.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, the result was much different from their first meeting, a four-point BHS win.
The 6-6 Rams struck on their second possession of the game to take an early lead.
The seven-play, 76-yard drive ended with Chesterfield quarterback Dillon Rivers connecting with Bubba Grant for the 14-yard touchdown.
Michael Smith drilled the conversion for a 7-0 lead on the only TD in the first period.
BHS tied the game in the second quarter as senior Mikeem McKinney scored on a four-yard TD run. The Jackets’ score was set up by a 21-yard McKinney run. Donovan Lang’s kick tied the game at 7-all.
Following alternating possessions in which the defenses began to assert themselves, the Rams jumped back on top.
BHS, forced to punt deep from its own territory, could not get a handle on CHS’s Chuck Jackson as he returned the punt 53 yards for the score. The Rams went up 14-7 following Smith’s extra point.
Chesterfield and Jackson added their second touchdown of the quarter minutes later when Rivers hooked up with Jackson on a 37-yard score to give the Rams a 21-7 lead, which they took to halftime.
“Chesterfield has good team speed,” BHS coach Mike Wells said. “I thought they utilized that speed along with their athletic ability and made some big plays that gave them momentum.”
CHS coach Ike Allred said the Rams played their game.
“We didn’t do anything different from our first game, but I felt we did a better job of tackling and playing defense,” he said. “We also had a good game from our special teams.”
Buford, fighting to keep the game close in the third quarter, was able to force the Rams into their first punting situation of the game.
The sequence proved to be a crucial point in the game as the ball was ruled to have hit a BHS player, thus making it a live ball. CHS recovered at the Buford 39. Two plays later, Rivers found Jackson again, this time from 27 yards out to extend the CHS lead to 28-7.
Buford continued to battle.
On the Jackets’ ensuing drive, BHS, behind the hard-nosed running of Josh Mullens and Jacoby Funderburk, drove into CHS territory.
Facing a big fourth down and three, BHS senior quarterback Tripp Wright connected with tight end Kyle Norcia for an 18-yard touchdown.
Norcia’s first TD of the season and Lang’s point-after closed the Rams’ lead to 28-14.
That was as close as Buford got.
The late-surging Rams added a Dillon Rivers’ 10-yard scoring run, a 17-yard scoring run from Kendrick Melton and a 55-yard score from Danzel Rivers to seal the victory.
“We had too many missed tackles and simply didn’t make enough plays,” Wells said. “You have to credit Chesterfield. They executed and we didn’t. They’re a very good offensive team.”
Buford, which finished 5-6, was looking for its first home playoff win since the 2009 season when the Jackets defeated Ninety-Six High, 14-13.
Ironically, it was Chesterfield which ended the Jackets’ run that season with a 30-0 second-round win.
The 2012 Rams move to third-round play as they travel to Abbeville, which posted a 6-3 win over Saluda on Friday night.