Catawba Ridge High School, ranked fifth in the latest 4A poll, pushed its way past Indian Land to get a 36-21 win over the Warriors.
The Copperheads’ run defense and special teams helped them overcome 16 penalties for 156 yards as they improved to 9-0 after the Friday, Oct. 21, win. Indian Land High School fell to 5-4 overall and 1-3 in Region 3-4A.
ILHS head coach Adam Hastings praised his team’s effort, but was frustrated by his team’s inability to score once inside the 20.
“Our guys had chances, and that’s all we can ask for,” he said. “We needed to take advantage of those chances and we didn’t, which is disappointing.
“Good football teams like that (Catawba Ridge), they limit your opportunities. You won’t be successful if you don’t take advantage of the things you’ve got to,” Hastings said.
“For senior night, our seniors did a good job, as they did all off season of leading the way, despite the fact that we don’t have many of them,” he said. “I’m proud of the way our defense played. They fought hard.”
A 40-yard punt return set up the Copperheads’ first score on third and seven as quarterback Tyler Fikis found Brandon Raysor wide open in the far corner of the end zone from 27 yards to make it 7-0.
After a fourth down stop, the Warriors drove 69 yards in six plays to tie the game. A personal foul on Catawba Ridge and a 45-yard pass play set up Jaden Singletary’s 2-yard run for the score. Warriors’ quarterback Jaxon Scheidt found Jaden Peoples down the seam, and Peoples made a great adjustment to set Indian Land up at the Catawba Ridge 5-yard line.
The Copperheads’ defense and special teams dominated the second quarter. Scheidt had to go to a knee to field a punt in the end zone. The safety made it 9-7 Catawba Ridge and the ensuing drive bogged down at the 22, leading to Kohen Kozel’s 39-yard field goal, which pushed the lead to 12-7.
Just before the half, the Copperheads got another field goal from Kozel, this one from 33 yards. Their 79-yard drive stalled at the Warriors’ 16. That Catawba Ridge drive started at Indian Land’s 5-yard line after Myles Stinson was stuffed on fourth and goal. The Warriors’ scoring chance was set up by a 54-yard halfback pass from Stinson to Malakai Knight.
Another short drive by Catawba Ridge was set up by a 35-yard kickoff return. A 4-yard Tyler Jones run to push the lead to 22-7 capped the Copperheads’ 45-yard drive.
Indian Land could not cut into the lead as Catawba Ridge got a stop on fourth and five at their 27, with Scheidt’s pass falling incomplete. On the Warriors’ next drive, they put together their best drive of the game, going 78 yards. Singletary’s 2-yard scoring run cut the lead to 22-14.
Catawba Ridge responded very quickly again with another big kickoff return, this one 58 yards. Fikis took the quarterback draw around the far end, then right up the middle from the 14 to stretch the lead to 29-14.
Another huge personal foul penalty aided Indian Land’s 65-yard march. Scheidt found his away around the near side for a 1-yard score to pull the Warriors to 29-21. Indian Land then recovered an onside kick, but could do nothing with it. Scheidt’s punt went only 13 yards, setting up Catawba Ridge at the 33. Fikis took in the final score of the night, another quarterback run of a fake to Jones, going 32 yards.
Indian Land travels to Lancaster on Friday, Oct. 28, to take on the Bruins in a must-win situation for them to improve their chances of making the playoffs. The Warriors are tied for fourth with York and only four teams make the playoffs out of the region.