FORT MILL — Finally, chalk one up for Nation Ford.
Although considered a rivalry, its been more like a one-sided affair as the well-established big brother Fort Mill has been beating up on younger brother Nation Ford for the past six years.
That changed Friday night as Nation Ford beat Fort Mill for the first time, 35-28.
This is special, said Nation Ford coach Michael Allen. We just kept telling our kids not to worry about the hype. We have been close before. Fortunately turnovers helped us. Its just part of the game.
Fort Mill coughed up the ball three times and had four turnovers in the loss.
You cant do that in this game, said Fort Mill coach Ed Susi. [Nation Ford] did a good job. You cant win close ones like that when you turn the ball over.
Yellow Jackets quarterback Rogan Wells scored with just over 2:30 left in the game to close the gap and make it 35-28 on a four-yard run.
The Falcons defense held strong when it counted most.
Another Fort Mill fumble opened the door again for Nation Ford, which went 42 yards to extend its lead by two scores with Keshawn McClures second running touchdown to open the final quarter.
The Jackets fought their way back by going to the run. But it was Nation Fords defense that stepped up and made a series of stops.
Fort Mill jumped right back in the game to open the second half as Malik Long ran 52 yards on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown and opened the door to get back in the game.
On the next play from scrimmage after that score, the Jackets Jesse Horine picked Helms off at the Nation Ford 24.
Fort Mill pounded the ball on the ground to get into the red zone as Wells had a big run to get to the three-yard line. From there, Long scored his third touchdown as the Jackets tied the game.
Nation Ford didnt drop its head as Helms hit Riley Hilton and Hank Tuipulotu for two first downs on 17 yard passes on the Falcons next drive. The Falcons finished off the drive on a four-yard touchdown pass to Colt Taylor, giving Nation Ford the lead again.
Fort Mill fumbled with about 69 seconds left in the third quarter and Nation Fords Josh Jacobs recovered it at the Jackets 42.
Nation Ford started the second quarter at the 46 in its best field possession. The Jackets got a personal foul called against them moving Nation Ford into the red zone for the first time in the game.
Helms then hit Tuipulotu to get Nation Ford to the 6 before McClure ran in on the next play to put the Falcons on the board.
Fort Mill fumbled on its next drive as Michael Allen recovered the ball for the Falcons on the Jackets 34.
Penalties continued to plague Nation Fords drives as it got to the red zone for the second time, only to be backed up by an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Falcons then fought their way back into the red zone as Helms hit McClure to get to the 6. Another penalty pushed the ball back to the 11, where Helms took matters into his own hands and put Nation Ford on top with an 11-yard run.
Fort Mill fumbled the following kickoff as Andrew Barr recovered the ball for the Falcons at the Jackets 20.
Nation Ford took advantage of the Jackets miscue as Helms ran the ball in four plays later to make it 21-7.
Fort Mill had a big run by Chandler Kryst of 25 yards to get a good start on its next drive near the end of the second quarter, but the Jackets turned the ball over again as Wells was picked off by Ervin Lassiter.
Fort Mill held Nation Ford on its first series to open the game as a poor punt, put the ball at the Falcons 45.
Fort Mill took advantage and used the legs of running back Sanders and the hands of receiver Zach Fowler to pick up a couple first downs.
Wells even scrambled for a 17-yard run to get inside the Nation Ford 10. Later, Long ran in from the 8 to put Fort Mill up.
Nation Ford struggled moving the ball due to penalties in the first quarter. Fort Mill gave the Falcons a first down with a pass interference call on its second drive. The Jackets defense came out strong and stayed on the Falcons receivers as Kryst covered Nation Fords Josh Shade like a blanket on several passes thrown to him.
Nation Ford 35, Fort Mill 28
FM Malik Long eight-yard run (Chandler Kryst kick)
NF Keshawn McClure six-yard run (Lexi Dressing kick)
NF Dalton Helms 11-yard run (Dressing kick)
NF Helms one-yard run (Dressing kick)
FM Long 52-yard run (Kryst kick)
FM Long three-yard run (Kryst kick)
NF Helms to Colt Taylor four-yard pass (Dressing kick)
NF McClure 11-yard run (Dressing kick)
FM Rogan Wells four-yard run (Kryst kick)
RUSHING Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 16-43, Keshawn McClure 19-62, Colt Taylor, 1-5, Riley Hilton 1-(-3). Fort Mill: Malik Long 6-65, Deryan Sanders 14-46, Rogan Wells 10-18, Taylor Hemphill 2-(-5), Chandler Kryst 3-29.
PASSING Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 17-36-1 170. Fort Mill: Rogan Wells 8-12-1 86.
RECEIVING Nation Ford: Riley Hilton 6-56, Colt Taylor 2-8, Hank Tuipulotu 8-93, Keshawn McClure 1-13, . Fort Mill: Brandon Plyler 4-58, Zach Fowler 1-10, Deryan Sanders 2-14, Chandler Kryst 1-4.
RECORDS Nation Ford 7-4, 4-3 Region III-AAAA ; Fort Mill 4-7, 2-5 Region III-AAAA.