Coming into Friday’s game, St. Georges coaches told Taronn Selby he’d have to carry a heavier burden if the top-seeded Hawks would survive a first-round matchup with high-powered Indian River.
The Hawks lost Tymiere Griffin to injury this week. With Griffin in the lineup, Selby usually only gets eight to 10 carries a game. He got 34 on Friday.
In short, he responded better than expected.
Selby carried the Hawks on offense and came up with clutch, timely plays on defense as St. Georges edged eighth-seeded Indian River 42-35 in the first round of the DIAA Division II Football Tournament. Selby accounted for 377 yards on the ground by himself.
“Taronn just goes,” Hawks coach J.D. Maull said after the game. “I told him ‘Hey buddy, you’re going to carry us this week.'”
Selby and his little brother, Keyuan Selby, found running lanes all night against the Indians defense. Together, they racked up 508 yards rushing on 44 carries.
The game was not in hand, however, until Zachary Bowe picked off an Indians pass with 3:04 left in the game. This came after the Indians, who finish their season 6-5, had returned a kick for a touchdown to narrow the lead to seven, then recovered an onside kick.
Bowe’s interception came on the first play of the Indians’ drive, which started at the Hawks’ 43-yard line.
It was a fitting end to a thrilling night. It was also a night that saw the Hawks escape with a win despite committing 16 penalties.
“Next round, we’re not going to be able to do that,” Maull said. “Whoever we play.”
The first half lived up to the billing, as both offenses piled up yards and points from the outset. The teams combined for 42 points in the half, which could’ve been more if not for four turnovers between the teams. The score was tied at 21 at half.
Both Selbys, however, were more than enough to sustain the Hawks offense. They combined for 293 yards rushing in the first half alone, with Taronn racking up a methodical 185 yards himself. Keyjuan logged 108, 86 of those coming on a touchdown run to put St. Georges up by seven.
IR quarterback Spencer Murray quickly answered, leading a six-play 67-yard to tie the game at the break.