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Thurmond Wins First Conference Game


By David Whatley

web posted September 29, 2017
SPORTS Jequan Harris watched his team from the sidelines Friday night as Tyrek Williams started at quarterback against the visiting Cougars from Edisto in the season's first conference game.  Harris, who sprained his ankle last week against North Augusta, is expected to return next week.  The first half was a slow, penalty-filled spectacle, that found both teams struggling to get into a rhythm.  

Thurmond won the coin toss and elected to receive to start the game.  The line drive kick from Edisto was returned by Josh Pixley to the Thurmond 41 yard line.  Despite starting with good field position, the Rebels failed to gain a first down and punted away to Edisto who would start their first drive on their own 35.

The Cougars drew 3 penalties in their opening drive, also failing to gain a first down.  Their punt to the 50 yard line left the Rebels with excellent field position.  This 11 play drive by Thurmond saw an 11 yard run by Williams called back for illegal procedure, and a hip injury to senior, Jacoby Miles.  This series of downs would end on the Edisto 32 with the Cougars taking over on downs after a Williams pass to sophomore wide receiver, Philip Merriweather fell incomplete while attempting to convert on a 4th down and 14 situation.

Edisto quarterback, Jae Ryant would lead the visiting team only 5 yards, to their own 37 yard line, in the next four downs and the punt to Ty Johnson would be returned to the Thurmond 40, where Williams and company would try again.  A couple of runs by Tyrek Williams brought about a 1st down at the Cougars 47 yard line.  Another run by Williams, and a run by senior, Jaquan Edwards set up 1st and 10 on the Edisto 25.  Edwards next carry to the Cougar 18 was called back on a penalty.  Williams completed a pass to Ty Johnson on the next play, but he dropped the ball, allowing Edisto to recover on their own 17 yard line.  The Cougars went 4 and out as the first quarter came to a close.

The Rebels fourth possession began at the Edisto 39.  This time, Thurmond would take advantage of the field position and score on a 5 yard touchdown pass to Ty Johnson after a pair of runs by Edwards, and a pair of runs by Williams.  Lawson Reel's point after was good and the Rebels took the lead 7-0.

Edisto's next set of downs featured lost ground yardage for a holding penalty, and a bad snap that quarterback, Jae Ryant was forced to fall on to keep the ball out of Rebel hands.  The visitors punted on 4th down with Thurmond taking over at their own 45 yard line.

On the next seven plays, Edwards would carry the ball four times and Williams would run it three times to bring about 1st and 10 on the Cougar 19.  Williams threw and incomplete pass on 1st down, and Edwards lost 4 yards on his 2nd down run, but a facemask penalty put Thurmond pretty much back to where they started at the Edisto 18.  A pass attempt to Ty Johnson fell incomplete, as did the next pass attempt to Jamarvious Jones.  Faced with 4 and 9 at the Edisto 18, Coach Hillary called on Lawson Reel for a field goal.  Reel made good on the 34 yard kick and Thurmond led 10-0 with 2:23 remaining in the half.

Edisto was unproductive in the next drive and punted to the Rebels.  On 1st down, Williams attempted a pass to Merriweather that missed his intended target.  Javin Holston gained some short yardage on the next play.  Williams unleashed a long bomb that fell incomplete on the final play of the first half.

The opening kick off in the second half was marred with confusion on the part of the officials after a fair catch by Edisto was dropped and the Rebels returned it to the end zone.  Somehow, it was deemed that the play should be repeated, and Lawson Reel was asked to kick off a second time.  Edisto was unable to capitalize on the "mulligan drive" and Thurmond took over on downs after four plays.  Taking over on the Cougar 37, Williams and Edwards moved the football to the end zone in 3 plays with Edwards credited for the touchdown on a 28 yard run.  Reel's extra point try was good and the score was 17-0.

No one saw the fair catch signal on the kick off as the Edisto receiver was clobbered by three Rebel players, but two officials threw their flags.  Several plays ensued in which Edisto had mixed results, but failed to convert a 4th and 6 situation at the Thurmond 21.

After taking over on downs, the Rebels turned to Edwards who broke for a 37 yard run, but had the play called back for illegal procedure.  After a couple of plays and a penalty for holding,  Williams completed a long pass to Ty Johnson that netted 62 yards and a 1st down at the Edisto 25.  Then, Edwards ran for 4 yards to the 21, where Williams toted the ball for the remaining 21 yards on his touchdown run.  Reel's kick was good and the score stood at 24-0.

Jae Ryant began to exploit weakness in the Thurmond secondary in Edisto's next series.  After moving the ball 50 yards on a pair of passes to receivers, Ray'quan Ryant and Jacobe Perry, the quarterback position was yielded to Dedrick Starks at the end of the third quarter.  He inherited a 2nd and 11 position on the Thurmond 20 yard line.  His first pass fell incomplete, but his 4th down pass found Ray'quan Ryant in the end zone for the score.  The Cougar extra point was good and Edisto was finally on the board, 24-7.

Thurmond was not able to capitalize on their next drive and punted to Edisto.  The Cougars showed a lot of grit starting from their own 5 yard line, they ran 18 plays making their way to the Rebel 18 before turning the ball over on downs.

Thurmond ran 6 ground plays picking up a total of 22 yards, effectively using all of the contest's remaining time and picking up their first conference win.          

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