CENTRAL – Sean-Thomas Faulkner intercepted a pass at Easley’s 5-yard line with 1:24 left as the Green Wave held off a comeback bid by Daniel to win 19-17 Friday night.
The Lions had one more chance after forcing the Green Wave to punt from the end zone on fourth down in the closing seconds. But Rivers Sherrill’s 45-yard free kick was short and to the left as time expired.
“It was a sloppy game as both teams were trying to work out the early-season jitters,” said first-year Easley coach John Windham, referring to the multitude of penalties each team was assessed in the three-hour game. “Sean-Thomas’ interception, obviously, was huge for us, but I think overall our defense got the job done tonight.”
The game was the opener for Daniel and quarterback Ben Batson, a sophomore who tossed one touchdown pass and was a force running the ball. He and running back Stephon Kirksey helped the Lions get to within a field goal in the third quarter.
Easley (2-0) scored three times in the first quarter behind two touchdown passes and a touchdown run by senior quarterback Dalton Black. Black passed to Holden Martin for a 57-yard touchdown with 7:32 to go in the quarter, but the PAT failed.
Daniel scored in the first quarter on an 80-yard drive that culminated with a 23-yard Batson-to-Carter Groomes pass.
After Daniel fumbled on its 12-yard line on its next possession, Black scored on a 1-yard keeper with 10.5 seconds left in the quarter, giving Easley a 19-7 lead at the end of the period.
Daniel stormed back in the third quarter making it 19-14, taking the opening kickoff and marching 67 yards. Kirksey scored on a 23-yard run to the left, making it 19-17 after the extra point.
On its next possession, Sherrill kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 19-17 with 4:32 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Daniel took over with good field position at the Easley 46 after a punt was nearly botched by Easley. The Lions moved to the 26, when Faulkner stepped in front of a potential game-winning touchdown pass for the interception.