Hartsville victorious in Playoffs opener
By Don Gearhart
The South Carolina High School Playoffs commenced at Coach Billy Seigler Fields and Kellytown Stadium with the host Hartsville Red Foxes facing off against the Lucy Beckham Bengals. The Bengals, entering their first varsity season came into the contest sporting a 7-2 record. The school, located in Mt. Pleasant, is a spinoff of Wando High School and has only been in existence for three years. Despite their youth and experience, the Bengals came out ready to play. They opened with a 30-yard pass play that put them in Red Foxes territory at the 40. Five runs for 27 yards, a pass reception for 12 more put them at the Hartsville one-yard line. On second-and-goal, the runner was stripped of the football with Hartsville recovering in the endzone for a touchback. After an initial first down, the Red Foxes stalled and had to punt from their own 39-yard line. Lucy Beckham returned the punt to their 42-yard line and proceeded to march down the field against a surprised Hartsville squad. Four runs totaling 18 yards and a pass completion for 29 yards put them at the Red Foxes 17-yard line. The drive stalled there and a 27-yard field goal attempt sailed wide of the uprights. Carmello McDaniel made sure the hosts showed who was the better team. On the first play, he ripped off an 83-yard touchdown run with 4:49 left in the first quarter. Sam Guttry kicked the extra point to give Hartsville an early 7-0 lead. The Bengals gained a first down on their next possession before having to punt the ball back to Hartsville. J’Shawn Anderson ran for 13 yards and a pass interference call against the Bengals placed the ball at the Lucy Beckham 37-yard line. Anderson and McDaniel runs moved the sticks to the Bengals 6-yard line as the quarter came to a close.
The first play of the second quarter saw McDaniel scamper six yards into the endzone with only five seconds elapsed and Guttry kicked the extra point to increase Hartsville margin to 14-0. The Bengals went three-and-out on their next series. A good punt placed the ball at the Red Foxes 14-yard line. Anderson quickly moved the ball to the 39-yard line with a 25-yard run. A holding penalty moved the Red Foxes back to their 28-yard line before Mckendrie Douglas completed passes to Tristian Spann for 9 yards and Tasaun Evans for 12 yards. McDaniel and Anderson runs got the Red Foxes to the Lucy Beckham 13-yard line where Douglas connected with Anderson for a 13-yard touchdown pass at the 6:18 mark. Guttry kicked the extra point and Hartsville now led 21-0. The Bengals ran off nine running plays and got into Hartsville territory but subsequently had to punt the ball back to the Red Foxes. Starting at their own two, Hartsville moved the ball out of the shadow of their own goal line. However, a lost fumble gave the Bengals an excellent scoring opportunity at the Red Foxes 21-yard line. A first down run of five yards led to a 16-yard touchdown pass on a perfectly thrown ball in the corner of the endzone. The extra point kick was successful and the score was now 21-7 with just 1:06 to play in the half. Using the sideline to stop the clock, Hartsville looked to score again when McDaneil’s 46-yard scamper was two yards short of paydirt as the clock expired.
The third quarter was a fast-paced affair. Hartsville used five minutes of the quarter taking 12 plays from their own 20-yard line to find the endzone with McDaniel capping the drive with a 6-yard run with 7:05. The extra point was wide but Hartsville now led 27-7. Lucy Beckham didn’t field the kickoff cleanly and had to fall on the ball at their 15-yard line. They had a 10-play drive of their own but eventually had to punt with just 2:51 to play in the third stanza. Hartsville ran off another 11 plays with the quarter ending halfway through the drive.
The Red Foxes were unable to finish the drive and punted to the Bengals. Lucy Beckham went to the air and ran off eight plays, seven of which were passes, before turning the ball over when Antuan Segars intercepted a Bengals pass at the Hartsville 15-yard line. McDaniel, Anderson, and Douglas ripped off runs that placed the ball at their own 46-yard line before McDaniel scored his fourth rushing touchdown with a 54-yard run with 5:21 left in the game. The extra point failed but the Red Foxes now led 33-7.
Hartsville went to their bench players after that score to give their underclassmen a chance to experience playoff football. Lucy Beckham took advantage and had a 10-play drive that resulted in a score on a four-yard touchdown pass with just 1:51 to play. The extra point made the final score 33-14 as Hartsville ran out the clock to end the game.
McDaniel led the vaunted Red Foxes running game with 20 carries for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Anderson complemented that effort with an equal number of carries and 125 yards rushing.
Hartsville has a daunting task in the second round of the playoffs as they travel to Columbia to take on an undefeated (11-0) A.C. Flora who was a 49-14 winner against Wilson in the first round.