By: Michael Christopher, Index Journal
ABBEVILLE —Fans were in full force literally and physically at the West Carolina Tel Kickoff jamboree at Abbeville High School.
The jamboree kicked off with a Calhoun Falls 10-point victory, then saw back-to-back shutouts by Crescent and Ninety Six before Abbeville defended its home turf against Newberry.
JR Rapley scored the first touchdown between the two Class 2A heavyweights. Cortney Jackson scored midway through the scrimmage to give the Panthers a 13-0 lead. Newberry answered with a score with nearly six minutes remaining, but it only took TJ Rogers about 20 seconds to go 65 yards for a rushing score and give Abbeville the eventual 20-7 victory.
“As long as the kids are giving you effort you can get better,” Abbeville coach Jamie Nickles said. “You’re not worried about the scoreboard this time of year, you’re worried about effort and getting better each and every day.”
In another big showdown, Ninety Six’s effort proved to be better than Greenwood’s as the Wildcats came away with a 7-0 victory. Kentavius Williams had a rushing score and later snagged an interception on defense.
“I didn’t have them ready to go. We’ve got to be ready to go all the time, and I didn’t have them ready to go,” Eagles coach Dan Pippin said. “We’ve just got to keep working. We looked really good on Thursday (in a scrimmage against Rock Hill) and then we looked really bad today.
“I think it was a team that played with emotion and a team that didn’t play with emotion, and I’ve got to be better with that.”
Wildcats coach Mike Doolittle said after a bad scrimmage, he challenged his players, and the result spoke for itself.
“We made a great comeback after yesterday (in a scrimmage against Clinton),” he said. “We looked really bad yesterday and we challenged them this morning. Watch some tape, challenged them this morning and bottom line we didn’t talk about Xs and Os, we talked about giving greater effort.
“I thought we played a little timid yesterday. The fact that it’s Greenwood is a big plus for us. It’s a big 5A school, and, hopefully, that will give our kids a little confidence.”
Calhoun Falls 22, Dixie 12
Calhoun Falls took advantage of an early fumble and hit a long pass late to hold off Dixie. It was a battle between two fairly new coaches. Blue Flashes coach Ferric Fuller, who is in his second year, said his team played steady despite its small roster of 15 players.
First-year Dixie coach Vic Lollis was happy with his team’s progress.
“We had a fumble on the first drive to start the game and let them capitalize on it,” the Hornets’ coach said. “Then we drove the ball down and scored, had a chance to tie but had a sportsmanlike celebration.
“It was back and forth and then they hit a long pass. Overall, I’m pleased and proud, and happy nobody got injured.”
Crescent 14, McCormick 0
McCormick moved the ball offensively, but turnovers hurt the team’s cause. Crescent was able to run the ball effectively to wear down the Chiefs’ defense for two scores. McCormick coach Russ Schneider looked at the bigger picture.
“None of this matters,” he said. “You go through the jamboree, make mistakes and correct them.”
The Chiefs’ coach was more concerned about the health of his players and how playing with a limited roster can affect teams.
“Playing kids both ways… when you’re playing somebody who is not playing both ways it makes a huge difference.”