Warriors deck No. 6 Bulldogs

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By Lee McManus

CAMDEN – If you think of Friday night’s football game between Indian Land and Camden high schools as a boxing match, your scorecard would look something like this: sixth-ranked Camden won the early rounds, landing two huge punches, though Indian Land did counterpunch.
In the middle rounds, Indian Land steadied itself, thanks to good defense, giving them a chance to rally and land the decisive blow in overtime, winning 20-14 over the Bulldogs.
Indian Land’s first drive looked to be one to get the Warriors on the board first. ILHS senior running back Tyree Sistare returned the Oct. 19 opening kickoff to midfield, but the Warriors advanced no farther than the Camden 25-yard line.
A number of Bulldogs then burst through to block Brandon Dickerson’s 35-yard field goal. Camden’s Jalyn Dubose scooped up the ball and sped down the near side 72 yards to make it 7-0.
Indian Land was unfazed as they marched 67 yards a short time later to tie the game at 7-all.
Brandon Britton, who ran for 52 yards on 13 carries, finished the drive with a four-yard run, but the key plays on the drive were two completions from Grayson Barber to A.J. Jefferson, of 29 and 25 yards. Those two completions helped the Warriors overcome two offsides penalties on the drive. Barber was 20-34 passing for 191 yards on the night.
Another huge offsides penalty cost them dearly a short time later.
Camden had fourth and six at their own 40, when Indian Land was offside on the punt. Camden’s Bryce Jeffcoat did a quarterback sneak for the first down. Shymeik Corbett rushed untouched 54 yards to put the Bulldogs up, 14-7.
Indian Land did have a chance to tie the game before the half, but Barber was picked off at the CHS six by Dubose. Camden missed on chances to extend its lead. Jefferson intercepted Jeffcoat at midfield to stop one drive, and two holding calls stopped the Bulldogs’ final drive of the half.
The teams’ defenses stepped to the forefront, allowing both teams to overcome mistakes. For Indian Land, it was two muffed punts, one of which Camden recovered. The Warriors’ defense held, but it cost Indian Land 42 yards of field position, pinning them at the 1-yard line.
Field position remained in Camden’s favor, until early in the fourth.
From their own 11, Barber and the Warriors wide receivers went to work. Indian Land used screens, slants and other passing ploys in breaking routes to steadily march down the field to tie the game at 14. Fittingly, Barber capped the five-and-a-half minute drive with a 1-yard sneak.
The ILHS receivers included Jefferson, 4-65; Tyree Sistare, 2-38; and Caleb Wallace, 5-34.
Camden got a huge kickoff return to Indian Land’s 25. IL’s defense allowed them no further, however, pushing them back to the 35. Neither team could make anything out of their final drives, sending the game to overtime.
Camden got the ball first, but could only get as far as the four on three runs. Javaris Holiday lined up in the wildcat as the Bulldogs decided to fake a field goal attempt. He was stopped short at the 1-yard line.
In the Warriors’ first play from the 10, Jiquese Tinsley was stopped short at the CHS 1-yard line.
Barber was stopped on his first sneak try, but found the end zone on his second to give Indian Land the 20-14 win.
“My hat goes off to the defensive guys, but really this whole team,” ILHS head coach Horatio Blades said. “With me having such a hard hand, being such a hard hand on them being a defensive guy, they believe in each other, they fight for each other. I told the seniors that if we won, it would be because of them. This is their victory. We scheduled all those hard teams early for big moments like this.
“Grayson Barber has progressed. We knew we would take some lumps throughout, but this is the time of year when we needed Grayson to start clicking and he has,” Blades said. “We put our players in better position to eventually prevent Corbett from getting outside and make a big play.”
Indian Land, 4-5, 2-1, faces Fairfield Central High School on Thursday, Oct. 25, a day earlier than usual, due to the cold rain expected Friday.
“[This] week is the seniors’ moment – senior night,” Blades said.
Indian Land, with a chance to finish second in the region and host a first-round home game, hosts Fairfield Central to cap regular-season play.
The Griffins, 2-7, 1-2, dropped a 34-14 home loss to Region IV-AAA champion Chester last week.