Vols ‘D’ dumps Jackets

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AJ defense delivers in win over Buford

By Kim Roberts



KERSHAW – Andrew Jackson received an inspired defensive effort to turn away county rival Buford, 16-7 in the Region IV-AA football opener for both teams at AJ’s Volunteer Stadium on Friday, Oct. 4.

Andrew Jackson blunted the Yellow Jackets twice inside the red zone and salted the game away when Mason Kirkley and Gervais Canty sacked BHS back-up quarterback Evan Flynn for a safety with just under a minute left.

“I am really proud of how our team responded tonight,” said AJ coach David Moore. “Buford really executes well and keeps teams off balance. Hats off to our defense, coach (Danny) Wright has his guys ready to go.

“Certainly, when Buford lost their starting quarterback (Scotti) Moser and starting fullback (Nic) Chavis, the complexion of the game changed,” said Moore. “I hope both guys are OK and get back on the field this season.”

BHS coach Mike Wells echoed Moore’s thoughts.

“Give AJ and their staff credit, they had their team ready to play,” said Wells. “They outplayed us.

“When you lose your starting quarterback, fullback and linebacker, it limits you somewhat, “ added Wells. “But make no mistake, AJ just outplayed us.”

The Volunteers took the opening kickoff and moved 50 yards in five plays. Corley Faulkenberry set the tenor of the game with a 40-yard return to the 50 to give AJ excellent field position.

Volunteer signal-caller, Kolby Whitley capped the drive on a four-yard QB draw. McKenzie Denkins made the first of two extra points on the night and AJ led 7-0 with 9:51 left in the opening quarter.

BHS, not to be outdone, answered with a 69-yard scoring drive in nine plays.

Jacoby Funderburk swept right from six yards out to pull the Jackets to within one. Wade Lambert drilled the kick and the score was even with 6:12 left in the first quarter.

The key play of the drive was 50-yard pass play from Moser to Chavis.

AJ defensive back Heath Gandy picked off an errant Moser pass later the Vols could not capitalize on. After AJ drove to the BHS 29, the scrappy Yellow Jackets forced the Vols to turn it over on downs at the BHS 21.

Buford defensive back Matt Griffin thwarted a Volunteer drive with an interception at the BHS 12.

Buford then marched to the AJ 16, but the Vols forced a field goal attempt on fourth down from the 33-yard line. The kick was just wide and the score was tied 7-7 at the half.

Late in the third quarter, Andrew Jackson moved 65 yards in 11 plays to score what turned out to be the winning TD.

Corley Faulkenberry hauled in a Whitley pass from 32 yards out for the go-ahead touchdown. Denkins’ kick made the score 14-7 with 11:45 left.

Late in the game, after Buford had forced a punt, AJ punter Dale Crawford boomed a 50-yard punt that was downed at the Buford seven. Two plays later, Kirkley and Canty sacked Flynn for the final nail in the coffin.

“I have to salute our defensive coaches, Chad Burgess and Bub Walters, who got us ready to play with intensity and confidence,” said AJ defensive coordinator Danny Wright.

Kirkley was in on three sacks, including the safety, and two tackles for loss. Anthony White had three sacks and two tackles for loss.

Offensively, Whitley was 12-26-1 for 167 yards, with one touchdown pass. Whitley also rushed for 61 yards on 16 rushes, including one rushing touchdown in the AJ win.

Antonio Truesdale carried the ball 12 times for 19 yards. Logan Lucas had one carry for six yards.

The Vols’ receiving corps was led by Faulkenberry with six catches for 94 yards and a 32-yard TD. Dustin Eddins caught four balls for 32 yards. Tray King hauled in two catches for nine yards.

For Buford, Moser was 1-5-1 for 50 yards. Moser rushed for three yards on two attempts. Evan Flynn was 1-6 for 10 yards.

Jesse Stacks paced the BHS rushing attack with 72 yards on seven attempts. Funderburk added 41 yards on seven carries. Christian Catledge rushed for 38 yards on seven carries. LaDarius Parker picked up 27 yards on six rushes. Nic Chavis rumbled for 26 yards on six carries.

Chavis had one catch for 50 yards and Catledge had one reception for 10 yards.

AJ improved to 3-3, 1-0, while BHS is 3-3, 0-1.

The Vols visit Cheraw on Friday night, while Buford hosts Central of Pageland.

Cheraw took a 12-6 home win over Indian Land and Central downed Chesterfield, 30-21.