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‘We have the talent to do some special things’: THA wins 3 in a row

  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to JCST Zach Bond and Thomas Heyward jump for joy last Friday as the Rebels won their third straight game, beating Hilton Head Christian 52-23. THA visits Williamsburg Academy this Friday.
  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to JCST Bobby Payne returned a free kick 70 yards for a touchdown en route to helping Thomas Heyward beat Hilton Head Christian 52-23.
  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to JCST Logan Thomas, left, and River Pender celebrate Thomas Heyward’s win over Hilton Head Christian.

After one quarter of Thomas Heyward’s eventual 52-23 victory over the Hilton Head Christian Eagles on Friday, the Rebels found themselves in a hole. They were down, 10-0 in the non-region game, in front of the homecoming crowd, and they needed something to happen.

Early in the second quarter, something did happen, as Timber Hexamer sacked Daniel Harrington in the end zone for a safety to put the Rebels (4-2) on the scoreboard, trailing 10-2.

Bobby Payne then returned the free kick 70 yards for a touchdown. Logan Thomas hit Zach Bond for a two-point conversion to make it 10-10 and the Rebels were alive.

“It’s great to know the defense and special teams have our back,” Thomas said. “They picked it up when the offense was struggling.”

Late in the second quarter, with the Rebels starting at the Eagles 39, J.R. Patterson ran three times for 37 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 2. On the next play, River Pender plowed 2 yards up the middle for a touchdown.

C. J. Cleland kicked the extra point to make it 17-10, and the Rebels never trailed again.

The Eagles’ (3-2) Floyd Hargrove returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-16 — but with 0:54 left in the first half, the Rebels went back to work.

Starting at his own 30, Thomas hit Chipper Hammond for 65 yards to the Eagles 5. On the next play, Pender ran 5 yards for a touchdown, with Thomas running for the two-point conversion to make it 25-16 at the half.

In the third quarter, the fireworks continued as Jake Masters grabbed an interception and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Thomas hit Zack Black for a two-point conversion and a 33-16 lead.

After the Eagles’ John Peduzzi threw 4 yards over the middle to John Burke for a touchdown to make it 33-23, the Rebels answered with a 14-yard touchdown run by Patterson for a 39-23 lead.

Black closed the third quarter with an interception — and Masters opened the fourth with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to make it 46-23.

On the ensuing possession, Black’s second interception of the night set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Thomas to close out the scoring.

Afterward, Rebels coach Nic Shuford was happy with the outcome but not with the total effort.

“We can’t have a first quarter like that,” Shuford said.

Once they got going, the Rebels rolled up the yards: 629 total, with 440 on the ground. Patterson ran for 248 yards and a touchdown, with Pender adding 91 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas went 9 of 12 for 186 yards and a touchdown and ran for 79 yards and a score.

Zach Bond and Bryce Tillotson made seven tackles each, with Joseph Gibson getting two sacks. Hexamer recorded a sack and a safety.

This Friday the Rebels go to Kingstree to play the Williamsburg Stallions (0-7), who lost 27-7 to King’s Academy last Friday. Then they close the season with three opponents from SCISA Region 2-A.

“We won’t lose another game this year,” Gibson said.

“We have the talent to do some special things,” Shuford said. “But I want four good quarters of football, not three.”

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