GREER — Running backs J.D. Ballenger, Quintavis Ballenger and Jabari Wingate combined for five touchdowns in the first half of Hillcrest’s 70-3 victory against Riverside on Friday night at the Reservation.
“Last week was a wake-up call for our team,” Hillcrest coach Greg Porter said. “We couldn’t get anything going in the running game in our 21-14 win against JL Mann.
“I thought we played well and were able to get back into form tonight. We were able to run the ball and stop the run on defense.”
Hillcrest (4-0) implored a ground-and-pound strategy against Riverside early.
The Rams gained 248 yards on 18 carries with five touchdowns on rushing plays in the first half while giving up just 15 total yards.
The Rams’ seniors, in particular, played a pivotal role early.
J.D. Ballenger bowled into the end zone on a 12-yard run to give the Rams a 6-0 lead with 6:20 to go in the first quarter. He rushed for two touchdowns.
Quintavis Ballenger, J.D.’s twin, gained 20 yards on two carries. Quintavis finished 133 yards on eight carries with one touchdown in the first half.
Senior Wesley Mathis had a sack on Riverside’s ensuing drive. Three plays later, the Warrior’s long snapper overshot his punter. The ball went through the end zone for a safety.
Wingate produced a 36-yard touchdown on the second play of the Rams’ next drive. Hillcrest held a 15-0 lead with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
Freshman Quindarius Jefferson had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown with 2:10 to play to give the Rams a 23-0 lead after a quarter. Hillcrest built up a 49-0 lead by the half.
Jaleel Thomas had two touchdown receptions for the Rams, and Brian Spurgeon returned a kickoff for a touchdown.