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Team On a Mission; Rebels Obliterate Panthers

By David Whatley

web posted October 21, 2017
SPORTS – Coming into the night, after losing their last two games, Strom Thurmond knew that they had to get back on track…now.  On the road, with their backs against the wall, they had to reach down deep, and deliver a performance that would help pull the team back together.  In a sparsely populated Pelion stadium, they found what they were looking for.

Strom Thurmond won the toss and elected to receive to begin the game.  In an electrifying first play of the game, senior, Tyrek Williams returned the kickoff to the Pelion 6 yard line.  Sophomore quarterback, Jequan Harris, started the game and on 1st and goal, faked a hand off and waltzed into the end zone untouched.  Reel's kick was good and the Rebels led 7-0 just 19 seconds into the game.

The Pelion receiver called for a fair catch on Reel's kick off, but one of his teammates ran into him, causing him to fumble the ball.  Thurmond recovered the loose ball on the Panther's 32 yard line, and brought their offensive unit back out onto the field.

A host of flags flew in the next Rebel drive, which featured a nice pass to Tyrek Williams, and a good run by senior, Jaquan Edwards.  The eight play drive was capped off by a 12 yard Harris pass to one of his favorite targets, Tyrek Williams for the touchdown.  Reel's point after attempt was good and the Rebels led 14-0.

Reel's second kick off turned out to  be another futile attempt to give the Panthers possession of the football.  This time the Pelion receivers watched it go over their heads, and left a live ball rolling down the sideline.  The Rebel special team dropped on the ball at the Pelion 20, and the Thurmond offense took to the field for the third time.

On 1st and 10, a short run gained about a yard.  A toss sweep to Edwards on 2nd and 9, picked up 14 yards.  On 1st and goal from the Pelion 5 yard line, the Rebels were flagged for illegal procedure.  Edwards carried the ball again on the next play making his way to the Panther 2 yard line, setting up another walk in score by Jequan Harris.  The field goal made it 21-0.  With 5:45 left in the 1st quarter, Pelion's offense had not seen a play.

The Panthers bobbled the next kick off, but managed to recover the ball on their own 16 yard line.  Quarterback, Richard Kollie looked good on a 12 yard run on the 1st play.  The next run gained no yardage and was followed up with an incomplete pass.  On 3rd and 10, Pelion running back, Jeremiah Green, clicked off a nice 17 yard gain.  Two plays later, Thurmond middle line backer, Ford Williams, was injured and left the field dragging his leg.  Soon after, Ford and his parents left the game, presumably to seek treatment for his injury.  The Pelion drive sputtered and the Panthers punted to senior, Ty Johnson who returned the ball to the Thurmond 21.

Jaquan Edwards would take his next carry 33 yards, to the Pelion 46.  Edwards was stopped after a 1 yard gain on the next play, leaving the Rebels with a 2nd and 9 from the Pelion 45 yard line.  QB Harris then found Ty Johnson who made his way to the Panther 33.  First and 10 brought about another pass play that was knocked down.  On 2nd and 10 the Rebels decided to try another pass to the end zone as the 1st quarter expired.  This resulted in a pass interference call against Pelion, giving Thurmond the ball at the Pelion 17.  Two plays later, Tyrek Williams ran the ball in for the score.  Reel made good on the point after and Thurmond led 28-0.

The Panther's senior wide receiver, Dayrun Keith, returned the Rebel kick off to the Pelion 30 to start the next drive.  Jeremiah Green picked up 10 yards on the drive's first play, but then the Panther offense went three and out, punting from their own 40.  Ty Johnson returned the ball to the Thurmond 36.

The Rebels followed up with a 64 yard touchdown pass from Harris to junior wide receiver, Dante Holloway.  Reel's kick was good and Thurmond had a commanding lead of 35-0.

The Panther offense showed determination on the next series of downs, which started on their own 30 yard line.  They ran 10 plays, and breached Rebel territory for the first time, but ultimately had to punt from the Thurmond 43.  The punt rolled out of bounds at the Rebel 11, where Harris and company convened for the next drive.

The first two plays were runs by Harris.  Each play netted a first down.  The first play was a 25 yard scamper, and the next play picked up 10 yards.  Now at the Rebel 46, Edwards and Harris combined to run the ball four more times.  Then on 3rd and 3, from Pelion's 38, Harris pitched to Ty Johnson for a 13 yard gain.  From the Panther 25, Edwards ran to the 11 yard line.  Harris finished the drive with an 11 yard touchdown pass to Tyrek Williams.  Reel's kick was good and the score stood at 42-0

Pelion failed to score on the next drive, running only three plays before the buzzer sounded to end the half.

The second half kickoff to Pelion was fielded by running back, Alex Conner at the Panther 25, and the Pelion offense took to the field to mount their first successful drive of the game.  A ground attack, with runs by Dayrun Keith, Richard Kollie and Jeremiah Green covered the 75 yards in 7 plays, with Keith scoring on a fake option from 48 yards out.  The point after was good and the beleaguered team was on the board, 42-7. 

Thurmond answered rapidly after Tyrek Williams returned the ball to the Rebel 48 on the kick off.  Dayrun Keith threw Edwards for a loss on 1st down.  On the second play, Harris connected with Ty Johnson for the touchdown.  The extra point was good and the score was 49-7.

After receiving the kick off at their own 30, Pelion only moved the ball a yard in the next drive,  They punted to Ty Johnson who was wrapped up soon after catching the ball at the Thurmond 29.

Fresh personnel were brought in on the Rebels next drive.  Casey Bledsoe and Thaddeus Burton were a couple of players added to the game, with Burton having a chance to make a couple of carries.  Starting at their own 29, the Thurmond drive lost steam on the Pelion 4 yard line.  Lawson Reel was called on for a field goal and made the score 52-7.

The Panthers received the kickoff on their 34 yard line after calling for a fair catch.  Pelion completed a pass to the flat on 1st down, but gained no yardage.  Green picked up a 1st down on the next play carrying the ball to the Thurmond 43.  Green's next carry picked up 4 yards, then, on 2nd and 6, Alex Conner scored on a 39 yard pass play.  Sophomore, Chris Goodyear booted the ball through the uprights to bring the game to 52-14.

Thurmond's final drive featured plays by freshman quarterback, Patrick Westbrook, and more carries by Thaddeus Burton, but little time remained for the Rebels to score, as the clock was allowed to run for most of the second half. 

The 52-14 trouncing of the Pelion Panthers brings the Rebels to 2-2 in division play and 5-4 for the season.  Brookland-Cayce will visit Strom Thurmond Stadium next week for the final game of the regular season.  

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