FORT MILL — With both squads needing a jump start as they dig deeper into their Region III-AAAA schedules, Rock Hill held on for a 29-23 win over Fort Mill as the Yellow Jackets let an opportunity slip away in the closing seconds.
“We missed our chance,” Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi said.
Trailing 29-23 and facing a fourth and 14 with 61 seconds left in the game, the Jackets got a fresh set of downs at the Bearcats’ 12-yard line with nearly 38 seconds left in the game when Rock Hill was flagged for roughing the passer. Rock Hill then got called for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the ball to the 8-yard line.
But Rock Hill kept Fort Mill out of the end zone on the next two snaps and held on for the win on what was the Jackets’ homecoming game.
Bearcats head coach Joe Montgomery said it was if his team came back from the dead.
“We faced a lot of adversity in that game,” he said. “That was a big game for us. It keeps us in the region race.”
Rock Hill was aided by two Fort Mill penalties on its final drive of the fourth quarter. That set up Bearcats quarterback Brandon Banks’ toss to Jua’quan Feaster for an 11-yard score to put Rock Hill back on top for good after trailing 23-21.
Fort Mill stopped Rock Hill to start the second half and took over in good field position at the Rock Hill 31-yard line after an apparent bad snap on a Bearcats punt. Jackets quarterback Rogan Wells hit tight end Mason Jordan for a 21-yard gain to get Fort Mill in the red zone, but the Jackets couldn’t move the ball much further and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Chandler Kryst.
Rock Hill was able to get its offense moving again on its second series and went down the field through the air and on the ground. The Bearcats, already inside Fort Mill’s 10, were aided by a pass interference call and pounded it in several plays later as Justin Stokes scored on a 1-yard plunge.
A big kickoff return spotted the Jackets at the Bearcats’ 38-yard line on their next drive before Wells hit Jordan two plays later for a 22-yard scoring strike to give the Jackets new life.
Fort Mill would take its only lead after Kryst intercepted Banks on the next drive and returned the ball 54 yards for the score that put the Jackets on top 23-21. Then came Banks’ game-winning toss to Feaster.
Rock Hill dominated early in the game. The Bearcats scored first after stopping Fort Mill on its first series of the game and taking over at the Jackets’ 34-yard line. Feaster scored six plays later.
In the second quarter, knowing the Jackets’ tendency to run the ball, Rock Hill stacked the box against Fort Mill, but the Jackets’ Malik Long still found holes to squeeze through. Wells was able to hit Kryst for a big 22-yard gain to get them in the red zone and Zach Fowler’s reception put Fort Mill at the 2, but a fumble one play killed that drive. However, Banks and Rock Hill were picked off around the 15-yard line by Fort Mill’s Dan Marr, who took the ball to the 4-yard line before Deryan Sanders put Fort Mill on the board two plays later, running the ball in from two yards out.
A penalty called back a two-point conversion by Fort Mill, which then attempted the point after kick but missed.
Fort Mill’s defense got a stop against the Bearcats and on its next series and went back to Sanders for a 17-yard run. Just as it seemed the Jackets were on a roll, they coughed up the ball to hand it back to Rock Hill.
At halftime, Chelsea Helms was named Homecoming Queen for Fort Mill.
Rock Hill 29, Fort Mill 23
RH – Jua’quan Feaster 10-yard run (Easton Templeton kick)
RH – Brandon Banks 11-yard pass to John McCullough (Templeton kick)
FM – Deryan Sanders two-yard run (kick failed)
FM –Chandler Kryst 27-yard field goal
RH – Justin Stokes one-yard run (Templeton kick)
FM – Rogan Wells 22-yard pass to Mason Jordan (Kryst kick)
FM – Kryst 54-yard interception return (Kryst kick)
RH – Banks 11-yard pass to Feaster (2-point conversion)
RUSHING Rock Hill: Brandon Banks 2-6, Jua’quan Feaster 5-39, Timothy Sherer 2-1, Justin Stokes 14-68, Alex Clary 1-(-11). Fort Mill: Rogan Wells 9-14, Malik Long 13-54, Deryan Sanders 12-27, Chandler Kryst 4-3, Taylor Hemphill 1-3.
PASSING Rock Hill: Brandon Banks 24-35-2 216. Fort Mill: Rogan Wells 13-22-0 157.
RECEIVING Rock Hill: Chris Salerno 3-44, John McCullough 3-18, Jua’quan Feaster 4-28, Jermaine White 9-64, Justin Stokes 6-64. Fort Mill: Brandon Plyler 3-30, Chandler Kryst 5-63, Mason Jordan 3-50, Zach Fowler 1-9, Malik Long 1-5.
RECORDS Rock Hill 3-4, 2-1 Region III-AAAA ; Fort Mill 2-5, 0-3 Region III-AAAA.