LANCASTER — With both teams looking for their first Region III-AAAA win, Fort Mill junior running back Malik Long came up big with two fourth quarter touchdowns to lead the Jackets to a 28-15 win over Lancaster.
On the Bruins first full drive in the fourth quarter, Lancaster was aided by a Jackets pass interference call moving the ball near midfield.
Fort Mill struggled to stop Bruins quarterback Keendarius Truesdale as he penetrated the Jackets’ defense at will. The drive started at the Lancaster nine-yard line and despite five plays going in the wrong direction, the Bruins found ways to move the ball until, with 3:39 to go, Fort Mill’s Jesse Horine came up with a big stop, knocking down a Truesdale pass. That turned the ball over on downs and on the first play from scrimmage, Long rushed 74 yards down the left side of the field to the Jackets’ lead.
“We fought through it and came through when it counted,” Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi said. “We had to make some adjustments in the second half and we finally got a couple stops.”
Fort Mill opened the fourth quarter with good field position at the Lancaster 46-yard line. Big runs by Jackets quarterback Rogan Wells and running back Chandler Kryst set up a six-yard touchdown run by Long on a four-play drive, giving Fort Mill the 21-15 lead.
Lancaster struggled on first and second down early in the third quarter, but picked up third down conversions on a couple different occasions to keep its opening drive alive.
The Fort Mill defense finally got the stop they needed forcing a Bruins punt. The Jackets opened their first drive picking up three straight first downs with passes to Kryst and Brandon Plyler and a run from Deryan Sanders.
Kryst got Fort Mill inside the Lancaster 20 before Sanders plowed his way to the one-yard line. He scored on the next play, giving the Jackets the lead again.
Lancaster got a good bounce on a punt with about 55 seconds left in the third quarter and started a drive on the Jackets’ 39-yard line. Four plays into the drive, Truesdale ran in from 20 yards out to put Lancaster back on top 15-14.
Fort Mill opened the second quarter with Wells hitting Zach Fowler for a first down pass as they crossed midfield.
The Jackets mostly kept the ball on the ground, draining the clock as Long pounded his way through holes to move the ball. Wells picked up another first down for Fort Mill, keeping the ball on an option and getting to the five-yard line. Wells gave Fort Mill its first score of the game two plays later on a one-yard run. Fowler then hit Plyler on a wildcat pass to convert the two-point conversion.
Lancaster had another big play on its first drive of the second quarter as Jay Hood rushed for 33 yards on a run to cross midfield.
Truesdale kept the ball a couple plays later to get into the red zone with a 12-yard run. From there, he hit Hood on the next play for a 13-yard touchdown to get on the board, but missed the extra point.
Fort Mill fumbled just past midfield on its next drive, giving the ball back to Lancaster. However, Truesdale was picked off by Plyler on the Bruins’ first play, giving it back to the Jackets.
The Jackets couldn’t capitalize and were forced to punt. Lancaster again kept things on the ground and Truesdale moved the Bruins down the field. Truesdale hit Hood with about 30 seconds left in the first half to get Lancaster to the 24-yard line of the Jackets.
Truesdale then fooled Fort Mill and hit Will Jackson for a 14-yard gain to get within the red zone. Lancaster couldn’t convert the touchdown and was forced to kick a 26-yard field goal by Trevor Latham as time expired in the first half.
Fort Mill 28, Lancaster 15
FM – Rogan Wells one-yard run (Zach Fowler to Brandon Plyler 2-point conversion)
L – Keendarius Truesdale to Jay Hood 13-yard pass (kick failed)
L –Trevor Latham 26-yard field goal
FM – Deryan Sanders one-yard run (kick failed)
L – Truesdale 20-yard run (conversion failed)
FM – Malik Long six-yard run (Chandler Kryst kick)
FM – Long 74-yard run (Kryst kick)
RUSHING Fort Mill: Deryan Sanders 7-44, Rogan Wells 10-46, Chandler Kryst 5-41, Malik Long 9-118, Taylor Hemphill 1-6. Lancaster: Kadarius Wright 6-(-3), Keendarius Truesdale 29-110, Jay Hood 1-33, Cameron Meadows 3-32, Jeremy Toliver 2-13, Will Jackson 1-(-5).
PASSING Fort Mill: Rogan Wells 7-14-0 88. Lancaster: Keendarius Truesdale 16-30-2 157.
RECEIVING Fort Mill: Chandler Kryst 2-47, Taylor Hemphill 1-1, Zach Fowler 2-15, Brandon Plyler 2-25. Lancaster: Jay Hood 10-91, Will Jackson 1-14, Austin Franceschelli 3-40, Cameron Meadows 1-1, Alex Ealy 1-19.
RECORDS Fort Mill 3-6, 1-4 Region III-AAAA ; Lancaster 2-7, 0-5 Region III-AAAA