FLORENCE, S.C. – After a slow start in Friday’s first half, Wilson made up for it in the Tigers’ 26-0 win against South Florence at Memorial Stadium.
It was the first shutout win by either team in this series since 2012 when South Florence won 42-0. And it was the first shutout win in this series by Wilson since October 1997 when the Tigers won 47-0.
After leading 6-0 at halftime, Wilson’s defense made sure the Tigers had as much time as they needed to get into rhythm.
By game’s end, Wilson had sacked South quarterback LaNorris Sellers five times and created five Bruin turnovers and recorded five tackles for loss.
“It’s important because their job is to stop you from scoring. And our job is to score and sometimes we’re not going to get that done, but our defense has continued to get us the ball back,” Wilson coach Derek Howard. “And it’s not like we won’t score, it’s a matter of when. That’s why I appreciate our defense for keeping their heads up and staying mentally tough and continuing to get us the ball back so we could put the ball in the end zone and put the game away.”
After leading 6-0 at halftime, the Tigers added 13 in the third and seven more in the fourth to pull away from a Bruins team that won 27-26 in last year’s meeting.
While Wilson quarterback Zayshaun Rice passed for 193 yards during the first half, Tiger mistakes were just as prevalent.
So much so that Wilson scored two touchdowns before its third actually counted. Also, a bad snap nixed the Tigers’ chance at a 25-yard field goal.
On the play after Wilson’s second score was called back – a 13-yard run late in the second quarter by Rice – he completed a 25-yard scoring pass to Yavin Smith for a 6-0 lead.
South Florence, however, provided the game’s first scoring threat after the Bruins’ Denzel Brown intercepted Rice on the Tigers’ opening drive.
Starting at the Bruins’ own 24, Sellers directed South to the Wilson 13. Facing fourth and 3, Sellers converted with a 5-yard completion. But after an offensive pass-interference call backed South to the 29, Sellers overthrew a wide-open Malik Eaddy in the end zone’s right corner.
Then on Wilson’s second drive of the night, the Tigers drove inside the South 10, and Vraj Patel attempted a 25-yard field goal which came undone because of a bad snap.
After the score was 6-0 at halftime, a fumble recovery by the Tigers’ Markel Bryant led to a 32-yard scoring pass from Rice to Timothy Robinson Jr. Austin followed with his TD run of 74 yards, and Wilson finished its scoring in the fourth.
That’s when Rice scored from the 1 to account for the final score.
Rice finished with 224 yards, Smith accounted for 101 total yards (73 receiving), and Austin rushed for 121 yards on seven carries.
“They’re doing a great job of playing within themselves,” said Howard, whose Tigers are 3-0. “They’re doing what we ask them to do. When they’re on the field, they choose who gets the ball and who’s not and they block for each other. And, they get excited about what each other does as well.”
Junior Bruins running back Hahsaun Wilson finished with 130 yards on the ground. But South coach David Prince looked to early missed opportunities as the turning point.
“We just didn’t get the ball in the end zone early,” said Prince, whose team is 0-3. “We got close a few times early, and we just didn’t execute. We’ve got to get points on the board early in the game when we’re moving the ball.
“That’s also what happened to us at James Island a couple of weeks ago,” he added. “We’ve got to fix it.”
SF 0 0 0 0 -- 0
W 0 6 13 7 -- 26
W – Yavin Smith 25 pass from Zayshaun Rice (kick blocked) :41.4
W – Timothy Robinson Jr. 32 pass from Rice (pass failed), 8:51
W – Chris Austin 74 run (Vraj Patel kick) 1:54
W – Rice 1 run (Patel kick), 11:19
RUSHING – SF: Wilson 25-130, Sellers 9-15, Eaddy 1-7, Jaylin Davis 1-2, Tyae McWhite 1-0. W: Smith 9-28, Austin 7-121, Rice 6-52, Timothy Johnson 1-1.
PASSING – SF: Sellers 10-21-1-100. W: Rice 17-26-1-224. Patel 1-1-0-(-1).
RECEIVING – SF: McWhite 3-58, Eaddy 1-25, Parker Moore 1-12, Harley Cusack 4, Wilson 1-(-4), Isaiah Jackson 1-5. W: Harrison Muldrow 1-9, Ja’Travious Sherrills 2-54, Jakobe Quillen 4-32, Smith 5-73, Robinson 3-40, Ismail Moses 1-1, DeMarcus Bailey 2-15.
RECORDS: SF 0-3, W 3-0.