Senior quarterback Dalton Black tossed two touchdown passes, junior running back Will Dawdry rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown and Easley amassed 323 rushing yards to defeat Greenville 34-15 in a Region 1-AAAA game Friday night.
First-year Coach John Windham said he is unsure if the win will put his Green Wave (6-5, 3-4) in the playoffs, but he said he’s happy it finished with a winning season.
“I’m really proud of our seniors,” he said. “We improved as the season went on. I’m just very pleased that we could go out with a win.”
Windham said the final score is not indicative of how close the game was. Indeed, the Red Raiders (1-10, 0-7) never led but pulled within striking distance early in the fourth quarter. Danyaus Williams’ 5-yard scoring run and Jack Hennegan’s extra-point kick made it 21-15 with 11:24 left in the game.
But using its bruising ground game, the Green Wave scored on their next two possessions. Junior Zack Mode capped a 12-play, 71-yard drive with a 9-yard scoring run and junior Ethan Myers finished a six-play, 24-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown.
“We did have our chances to win,” said second-year Red Raiders coach David Crane. “Really, at halftime we didn’t feel that bad. We played poorly but were still down only by seven. After we got that score early in the fourth quarter, we felt like if we stopped them and got the ball back, we had a shot. But we couldn’t stop them. They ran right at us and we couldn’t stop them.”
Easley led 14-8 at halftime, but Greenville had its chances in the first half. Senior QB Carson Spiers threw two interceptions – both by Ta’Von Hicks – to end potential scoring drives on its last two possessions of the second quarter.
The Green Wave jumped ahead early by driving 60 yards in nine plays, culminated by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Black to Sean-Thomas Faulkner with 7:03 left in the first quarter. Joshua Hansen’s PAT made it 7-0.
The Red Raiders scored by marching 80 yards in 16 plays, capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Spiers to John Krall. On the drive, Spiers completed six of eight passes and Williams rushed for 23 yards.
Greenville’s Tydricus Hellams intercepted Black on Easley’s first play of the following drive, but Hicks picked off Spiers three plays later. Brawdy carried the ball five times for 31 yards on the Green Wave’s ensuing possession and capped the nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown with 1:13 left in the half. Hansen’s point-after made it 14-8.
The Red Raiders moved the ball 54 yards in a matter of seconds before Hicks’ picked off Spiers’ again near the goal line.
Spiers completed 17 of 38 passes for 205 yards.
“We wanted to come out and be aggressive and I’m proud of the way we played,” Windham said. “I have a lot of respect for Greenville. They’ve been in and had a chance to win a lot of games this season. They’re a good team. It took a great effort on our part. Their record is no indication of how good they are.”