Hartsville loses nailbiter against Bruins
By: Don Gearhart
On a cold, blustery evening ahead of Hurricane Ian, the undefeated and top-ranked 4A team in the state invaded Hartsville in the first region game of the year. South Florence sported a 6-0 record with some impressive victories through the non-region part of their schedule. The Bruins won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. They proceeded to show why they were ranked as they executed a 16-play drive. The Red Foxes, however, turned the ball over on downs and took over at their own 14-yard line. Hartsville ran off 11 plays but finally had to punt from the Bruins 41-yard line. Both teams then had 3-and-out series to end the first quarter with a surprising 0-0 score.
South Florence could not make progress as a pass in the swirling wind ended with Hartsville intercepting with 9:40 to play in the half. The Red Foxes could not muster any offense and had to punt. South Florence, starting at the Hartsville 49, ran off seven plays with Shikeem Shilow’s 4-yard touchdown run. The extra point kick was good and the Bruins took the first lead of the game, 7-0, with 6:02 left to play in the first half. Hartsville was able to gain one first down before punting to the Bruins with 3:09 to play. South Florence then rode the back of the diminutive Shilow on an 11-play drive that culminated on a Lanorris Sellers 1-yard plunge. The extra point try sailed wide but South Florence took a 13-0 lead with just 27 seconds left before the halftime horn.
Hartsville fumbled on the second play after the second half kickoff but held the Bruins on three downs and forced a punt. Starting on their own 8-yard line, the Red Foxes ran 7 plays to their 32-yard line before coughing up the ball. Shilow took the first handoff after the fumble and sprinted all the way to paydirt. The PAT try failed but the Bruins now owned a 19-0 lead with 5:39 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Hartsville was unable to field the ball and South Florence took over again at the 50-yard line. It took 7 plays for the Bruins to march down to the Hartsville goal line where Sellers again plunged for the score. The PAT was good and it was now South Florence 26, Hartsville 0.
Hartsville got excellent field position on the kickoff and marched down to the Bruins 5-yard line when time ran out in the third period. On the next play Carmello Mcdaniel covered the 5 yards for the touchdown. Kajlil Lewis kicked the extra point and Hartsville had closed the gap to 26-7.
South Florence was stopped on downs at the Hartsville 24 on their next possession and the Red Foxes wasted little time to strike for another score. From the South Florene 41-yard line, Mckendrie Douglas found Tristian Spann for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 9:14 left in the game. Lewis converted the PAT to make the score 26-14 in favor of the Bruins. The Bruins marched down the field and were primed for another score when they fumbled inside the Hartsville 10-yard line. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Douglas connected with Span again for an 82-yard score. Lewis kicked the extra point and Hartsville had closed the gap to 26-21. South Florence didn’t flinch and Shilow’s runs of 24 and 23 yards set up a third 1-yd touchdown run by Sellers. The extra point kick raised the score to 33-21 with 5:43 left in the game.
Hartsville got good field position on the kickoff and started another scoring drive thanks to a key 22-yard pass from Douglas to Jackson Moore. From there, Mcdaniel covered the remaining 24 yards for the touchdown and with Lewis perfect again, the score was now 33-28 in favor of South Florence with 4:15 to play. The Bruins moved the sticks once but had to punt. With 1:18 left in the game, a 27-yard run by Mcdaniel and an 18-ard strike from Douglas to Moore put Hartsville on the Bruins 34-yard line. With time expiring, the Red Foxes went to the passing game and simply ran out of downs.
Hartsville was led by Mcdaniels 114 yards rushing on 13 attempts and two touchdowns while Douglass carried the ball 12 times for 65 yards. Spann’s two touchdown receptions covered a total of 123 yards.
For the Bruins, Shilow carried the ball 21 times for 250 yards and two touchdowns and Sellers ran 17 times for 91 yards and three scores.