You often expect the unexpected in a season-opening rivalry game, but the 2013 edition of Pickens vs. Easley went beyond anyone’s thoughts.
A long weather delay at the start and a temporary outage of the stadium lights in the second quarter will leave their mark on what people remember about Easley’s 30-14 victory against Pickens at Green Wave Stadium on Aug. 23.
There were other matters of note, though, from this game.
New Easley coach Grayson Howell, in his first game as a head coach, picked up the win. The victory also was the third in a row for the Green Wave against Pickens.
“We talked about this season being one that’s going to be timeless, one we’ll remember forever,” Howell said. “We started off with a bang tonight.”
A lot of the bang for Easley came from 5-foot-3 wide receiver Deandre Gamble, who took two passes 70 yards each for scores and returned a punt 70 yards for another touchdown.
Howell said Gamble practiced hard through camp, and “he had his night tonight.”
His play, along with fellow wide receiver Hakeim Warren – who caught a touchdown and converted three two-point attempts – and sophomore quarterback Dalton Black, made for a successful debut of the new-look Easley offense.
Black completed 11 of 18 passes for 240 yards with three touchdowns.
The Blue Flame served up a stout rush defense, but they couldn’t get anything going offensively until the second half.
Pickens, led by Hayden Wheeler, held Easley running back C.J. Fuller to 17 yards on 19 rushes.
“There are things we can build on that I’m looking forward to,” Pickens coach Chad Seaborn said. “It’s going to take a little while to get over this (loss), though.”
With his team trailing 22-0 at the half, senior quarterback Mason Covey raced 36 yards on the first play of the third quarter but was injured on the play. Austin Clark stepped in and led Pickens to a touchdown.
“He’s done that a bunch,” said Pickens coach Chad Seaborn said of Clark. “He can do a lot of things for us.”
Pickens gained 219 yards rushing while holding the Green Wave to minus-4 yards rushing.