ST. STEPHEN – Down two touchdowns about two hours from home on the coolest night of football in the Lowcountry this fall, visiting Brookland-Cayce High School got up off the deck to pull off a bit of a shocker on Friday.
The Bearcats took advantage of several Timberland High School gaffes to score four unanswered touchdowns en route to a 28-12 victory over the Wolves in the third round of the Class AAA playoffs.
Brookland-Cayce (9-4) travels to unbeaten Dillon High School on Friday for the Lower State championship. The Wildcats coasted by Gilbert High School, 34-7, in the third round.
Timberland, which had won seven in a row, ended the season with a 9-4 mark. It was the final game for nine seniors, including six starters.
“We had too many turnovers,” Timberland coach Art Craig said. “When you’re in a third-round game and turn it over that many times, this is what’s going to happen. They deserved to win and that’s why they’re moving on.”
The Wolves lost three fumbles in the second half and Brookland-Cayce turned a 12-7 deficit into a 16-point victory. The Bearcats, leading 14-12, iced it in the fourth quarter with their last two touchdowns.
Daveon Sistrunk scored on a 7-yard run to cap a 91-yard drive with 4:01 left and running back Rasheed Taylor broke off a 40-yard touchdown run with 3:18 remaining to cap an impressive night. Taylor also scored Brookland-Cayce’s first two touchdowns on runs of 4 and 7 yards.
The night started well for Timberland. The Wolves drew first blood on both sides of the ball, causing a fumble on the second play that was recovered by defensive back Tyler Sumpter. They turned it into a 47-yard scoring drive. Sumpter made his eighth interception of the season later in the game.
Fullback Johnson Thomas pounded his way through the middle on a 7-yard run and fell across the goal line to make it 6-0 with 8:05 left in the opening quarter. The extra point was blocked.
The Wolves put together another scoring drive on their second possession after forcing a punt. Thomas scored on a 5-yard run with 11:16 remaining in the half to make it 12-0, capping a 64-yard drive that ate up over five minutes.
It stayed that way until the Bearcats caught a break late in the half to create a spark that ignited their comeback.
With the Wolves backed up deep inside their own territory, Timberland punter Zack Bayles couldn’t quite handle a high snap inside the 5 and was knocked down at the 4 after picking it up and trying to run.
“That took some wind out of us,” Craig said.
Taylor carried it from there with 1:03 left in the half and Gabriel Shirah’s extra point sent the visitors into the break with a 12-7 deficit.
The Bearcats gained the lead early in the second half. The Wolves coughed it up on the second play from scrimmage and Brookland-Cayce marched 50 yards to go up 14-12 on Taylor’s 7-yard run and Shirah’s extra point with 8:07 left in the third quarter.
Aiming to take the lead, the Wolves used a pair of personal fouls to move into Brookland-Cayce territory with less than nine minutes left in the game and seemingly converted a third and long with a run to the red zone before a holding wiped out the conversion.
Bayles stopped a punt at the 9 with 8:27 left but the Bearcats went on their 91-yard drive to gain control.