Easley hosted Hillcrest Friday, October 31, 2014.
EASLEY – In the first five minutes of its game with Hillcrest Friday, Easley generated two prime scoring opportunities. They came up empty both times, and the Rams eventually rolled to a 56-0 victory.
Hillcrest (9-1, 5-1) stayed in the Region 1-AAAA title chase with a home game remaining next Friday against Woodmont. The Green Wave (3-7, 2-4) will close the regular season at Greenville.
On the game’s first snap, Easley quarterback Dalton Black hit Jordan Crooks for 32 yards to the Hillcrest 36. Back-to-back sacks stopped the drive as Easley turned it over on downs.
The Rams went three-and-out, and punter Marshall Perkins’ knee touched the ground as he reached for a low snap. The Green Wave took over at Hillcrest’s 28. Easley moved to the five but again turned the ball over downs.
“It was a momentum shift,” Hillcrest coach Greg Porter said of the early stops. “That allowed us the opportunity to find our groove offensively.”
Brian Spurgeon’s 29-yard punt return later in the first quarter finally sparked the Rams. Collin Sneed ended the short drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Eichelberger with 11 seconds left in the first.
The Rams added two second-quarter scores. J.D. Ballenger ran one yard for a score, and Spurgeon rushed five yards for another. Hillcrest led 21-0 at the half.
Hillcrest rushed for 269 yards and passed for another 158 while holding Easley to 104 yards of total offense. J. D. Ballenger ran for 117 yards, and Quintavis Ballenger added 96.
“The offensive line was awesome tonight,” said Porter. “We wanted to focus on our run game.”
Hillcrest went right to work in the third period. Sneed and Wen Taylor combined for a 29-yard touchdown pass immediately after Seth Nichols returned the second half kickoff 59 yards.
On the next possession, Sneed hit Spurgeon in stride for a 67-yard touchdown pass, and Hillcrest led 35-0 with 8:06 left in the third period.
By the end of that quarter, the Rams led 49-0 thanks to Quintavis Ballenger’s 19-yard touchdown run and J. D. Ballenger’s 18-yard scoring scamper.
Isaiah Sayegh returned an interception 76 yards for the final Hillcrest score with 4:46 left in the game.