Gaffney eliminates Swamp Foxes
The Swamp Foxes kept things interesting but weren’t able to take down the top-seeded team for the Division 1-AAAA state football playoffs Friday.
Ashley Ridge drew the 16th and final seed for the division, but Swamp Fox coach Kenny Walker said his team wasn’t concerned with that or Gaffney’s reputation entering the opening round.
“Our kids played with a lot of effort and were not intimidated by any means going up there and playing them,” Walker said. “I was surprised how well we ran the ball against them considering they probably have the best defensive line in the state. We had to move our (offensive) line around a bit due to injuries and we had four underclassmen in there who did a great job most of the night.”
Ashley Ridge senior Romelo Doctor rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, but it wasn’t enough as Gaffney earned a 35-17 win to improve to 9-3 and advance to host Stratford in the second round. Ashley Ridge finishes the season at 4-8.
The Swamp Foxes were also able to move the ball through the air against the Indians as quarterback Jacob Thompson completed 11 for 21 pass attempts for 148 yards. Vernon Moree led the Ashley Ridge receivers with six catches for 66 yards.?“We had plenty of opportunities to come away with the upset but our year can be summed up by the way that game went,” Walker said. “When we had opportunities we didn’t take advantage of them. When we had a big play it was called back because of a penalty. When we had an opportunity to stop their offense we would miss tackles.”
Things were shaping up for Ashley Ridge to go into the half down 14-10 after Doctor’s first TD run and a Swamp Fox field goal.
But the Gaffney QB made a big play with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, breaking several tackles on a 50-plus yard run to set up an Indian TD. With that, the Swamp Foxes entered the second half trailing 21-10.
Doctor scored his second TD of the evening early in the third quarter to pull the Foxes within a score. However, Ashley Ridge couldn’t make the key defensive stop it needed.
Gaffney junior Hyleck Foster finished with approximately 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns as the Indians earned their sixth straight victory.
Ashley Ridge was eliminated from the playoffs with the loss. The season could have ended worse for the Foxes, who won three of their final five regular-season games to finish third in Region 8-AAAA and earn a spot in the playoffs.
“Our team improved toward the end of the year and hopefully we can build on that with the group we have coming back,” Walker said.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org