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For The Lancaster News
BATESBURG - Batesburg-Leesville scored on its first six possessions plus had a 47-yard pick for a touchdown to roll past Andrew Jackson, 59-28 in a Class AA Upper State opening round playoff game at Batesburg on Friday.
B-L, 8-3, also forced five AJ turnovers to end the Vols' season at 5-6.
"They came out of the gate quick and made some plays early," AJ coach Louis Clyburn said. I told our team at the half (down 49-14) to go out and play hard and have fun.
"Batesburg Leesville is a good team," said Clyburn. "Their quarterback (KJ Brown) was back tonight after missing five weeks with a broken collarbone. He made excellent reads tonight."
Colby Watkins and Elliott Jeffcoat rushed for 107 and 101 yards, respectively and scored five TDs between them.
AJ ace receiver Justin Sellers caught eight passes for 130 yards, including two touchdowns. Sellers has caught 25 passes the last three games and broke the AJ single-season reception mark with 47.
B-L started quickly with a 53-yard scoring drive in just two plays. Brown found Jamal Bryant on a 44-yard pass off the flanker reverse on the opening play of the game. Jeffcoat capped the drive with a nine-yard burst. Austin White nailed the first of eight extra points.
After an AJ punt, B-L moved 93 yards in nine plays. Demetrious Robinson rumbled 50 yards to put the Panthers into AJ territory. Watkins four-yard run ended the scoring drive with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
AJ drove only 46 yards after a short Panther kickoff to slice the B-L lead in half. Trent Flowers bulled his way across the goal from 22 yards out for the score. Tyler Denkins converted the extra point late in the opening quarter to make it 14-7.
The Panthers quickly responded with a 53-yard, nine-play scoring drive. Brown called his own number and scooted in from the two-yard line to up the Panthers' lead to 21-7. Panthers DB Ricky Adams' 31-yard interception set up a two-play, 34-yard score. A Brown to Bryant pass split a pair of AJ defenders for the score to up the lead to 28-7.
The Vols then marched 63 yards in 11 plays. Pardue threw a one-yard scoring pass to Ryan Miller to cut the lead to 28-14 after the Denkins extra point.
B-L then scored twice in a three-minute span. The Panthers moved 53 yards in eight plays, with Jeffcoat scoring from the 17. The next Panthers' drive covered 77 yards in just six plays. Watkins bolted 38 yards on a fourth-and-two to extend the lead to 42-14 with 1:35 left in the half.
Panthers' defensive star Chris Lewis then had a 47-yard pick for six to cap the first-half scoring. Lewis also had a second interception in the second half.
Bryant set the tone of the second half with a 55-yard interception return on the AJ opening possession of the half. Watkins capped the five-yard drive with a three-yard TD run. B-L led 56-14 with 10 minutes left in the third frame. AJ fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the AJ 18 and the Panthers got a White 25-yard field goal to lead, 59-14.
The Vols scored twice in the fourth quarter as Sellers caught scoring passes of 32 and 43 yards from Pardue.