ANDERSON – T.L. Hanna freshman quarterback Alex Meredith threw three touchdown passes and added some timely runs to lead the Yellow Jackets past Easley 31-24 Friday night at Jim Fraser Field.
But not before Easley came within one bounce of the ball and an extra-point from sending the Hanna homecoming game into overtime or going for a victory with a two-point attempt.
With Hanna attempting to ice the game with a 26-yard field goal attempt, Easley’s Ivan Hill blocked Reel Wise’s kick. The Green Wave’s Daniel Hines tried to scoop it as it bounced along the artificial turf but couldn’t control it.
“I thought for a second the ball was going to bounce right up to (Hines),” said Easley coach John Windham. “That’s how the ball bounces.”
On Easley’s first play from its 39, Hanna’s Jay Lagroon made a game-clinching interception.
Easley (3-3, 0-2 Region 1-AAAA) pulled to seven points behind twice down the stretch, first on Malaki Robinson’s 29-yard touchdown run with six minutes to play, and again on Dalton Black’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Holden Martin with 2:32 left.
But Hanna (4-2, 2-0) countered with Darien Rencher’s 35-yard scoring run following a 40-yard reception by Lucas Catalfomo, who scored two touchdowns. Davijuan Dean’s 34-yard run put the Jackets in position for Wise’s blocked field-goal attempt.
The Green Wave did a solid job controlling a potent Hanna rushing game. But Meredith was effective finding open receivers, including Catalfomo, who hauled in a deep pass for 48 yards down the left sideline and then capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown reception giving Hanna a 24-10 lead late in the third quarter. Catalfomo also caught a 6-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-goal play in the first half.
“They weren’t uncontested throws,” Windham said. “We had guys on them, but they were able to complete them.”
Bralen Fuller had a big game for the Green Wave, including a 76-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Despite Hanna’s dominance of the first half, Easley trailed only 17-10 thanks to two long receptions by Fuller, some clutch goal-line defense by the Green Wave and costly penalties by the Yellow Jackets.
Fuller’s 76-yarder came on a slow-developing pass across the middle late in the first half that cut the Hanna lead to 14-10 only a few plays after the Jackets were stopped on a fourth down inches from the goal line.
A 28-yard pass over the middle from Black to Fuller following a Meredith fumble recovered by Hill set up Easley’s field first-quarter field goal.
Hanna broke on top on the game’s second play when Dean took a screen pass and raced 76 yards up the middle. Easley’s Joshua Hansen kicked a 30-yard field goal to cut the margin to 7-3.