Hartsville’s second half resurgence sinks Lower Richland
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
It is not how you start, but instead how you finish.
At least that is what the Hartsville Red Foxes are saying after its win over the Lower Richland Diamond Hornets this past Friday night to advance to the 4A lower state championship for the second straight year.
What looked like a dominate victory by the look of the scoreboard at the end of the game was anything but. In actuality it looked like it was going to be Lower Richland leaving Kelleytown Stadium with the win.
Down 20-7 at the half, Hartsville seemingly flipped a switch coming out of the locker room to start the second half, scoring 34 unanswered points in route to a 41-20 win for the Red Foxes.
“We started to play better, we fumbled the ball, looked like we hadn’t played football in a long time and Lower Richland was hot,” Hartsville head coach Jeff Calabrese said. “We got behind the eight ball and our kids had to make a decision on whether they wanted to go home or fight their way into the next round and that’s what they did. What a great second half of football; I’m telling you, if we could play like that for 48 minutes we might have something.”
As it has been for most of the year Tiyon Evans was the so called “it” factor for the Red Foxes, scoring four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving. Even more impressive was the fact that he scored three of those four touchdowns in the second half when his team needed him the most.
Evans was not alone in the scoring effort, however. Donovan Lambert scored from 18 yards out just a minute and six second after JD Pendergrass picked off Tavaughn Higgins to give the Red Foxes their first lead of the game since the first quarter when they were up 7-6.
Quarterback A.J. Joyner capped off the night, scoring the Red Foxes last touchdown of the game, running in from one yard out on a designed run.
But while the offense might have been putting points on the board in the second half it was the defense doing the heavy lifting. In the second half the Red Foxes picked Higgins off four times and held the Diamond Hornets scoreless.
And while turnovers plagued Lower Richland in the second half they were just as problematic for Hartsville in the first half as the Red Foxes turned the ball over two times resulting in 14 of the Diamond Hornets 20 points.
An Evans fumble on Hartsville’s first play from scrimmage gave the Diamond Hornets the ball on the Red Foxes 11-yard line and took Higgins only one play to run it in for the score and a Joyner fumble with 1:48 left in the second quarter resulted in a scope and score extending Lower Richland’s lead right before the half.
The Red Foxes now get ready to take on the Berkeley Stags at home this Friday for a right to go play for the 4A state championship.
Hartsville’s overall record now sits at 12-1 overall.
The Lamar Silver Foxes continued its march back to the 1A state championship defeating Williston-Elko on the road in dominate fashion by a score of 48-14.
Despite being 12-0 the Silver Foxes now travel to take on Ridge Spring-Monetta with the winner advancing to the 1A state championship game.