HARTSVILLE, S.C. – What began as top-ranked Hartsville’s senior night ended in another coronation.
The Red Foxes won their fourth consecutive region championship after one of their seniors – their star, actually – Tiyon Evans, set the tone with four first-half touchdowns in a 70-34 victory Thursday over No. 3 Myrtle Beach.
After winning the 6-3A crown in 2015, Hartsville has won the past three in 6-4A.
After Evans finished Thursday’s first half with 138 rushing yards, he returned the second half’s opening kick for 98 yards and a touchdown. Then, he completed a 75-yard pass to senior J.D. Pendergrass for another score and 49-7 lead.
Then, Myrtle Beach made things interesting – but only for a while.
After the Seahawks responded with two fumble returns for scores to get within 49-20, Hartsville lost another fumble. But Seahawks quarterback Luke Doty’s attempt for a TD pass was intercepted in the end zone by Pendergrass.
But before all that, special teams were what gave Hartsville the early spark. A snap that went under the punter led to Hartsville recovering it at the Seahawks’ 6. From there, Evans scored to make it 7-0.
Then, after a 57-yard punt by Caleb Caldwell put Myrtle Beach at its own 8, the Red Foxes recorded a safety for a 9-0 advantage.
Scoring runs by Evans and D.P. Pendergrass then made it 22-0 before Doty got Myrtle Beach on the board with a TD run of his own.
After Myrtle Beach got within 49-27, none other than Evans scampered 27 yards to the Seahawks’ 4 (he finished with 163 rushing yards and 157 passing for a total of six touchdowns). From there, fellow senior Collins Bishop Jr. scored to put Thursday’s game back out of reach. It was the first of three fourth-quarter TDs for Bishop, who finished with 112 rushing yards.
And then, the celebration was on.
Hartsville’s seniors finished their regular-season career not only perfect in region play, but also at home.
Now, as the Red Foxes prepare to host an at-large team in next week’s first round of the playoffs, they’ll enjoy Thursday’s jubilation.
For these Red Fox seniors at home, that’s all they’ve known.
MB 0 7 20 7 -- 34
H 16 20 13 21 -- 70
H -- Tiyon Evans 6 run (Caleb Caldwell kick), 10:43
H -- Safety, 5:23
H -- Evans 27 run (Caldwell kick), 4:46
H -- D.P. Pendergrass 12 run (kick blocked), 8:38
MB -- Luke Doty 9 run (Chad Toon kick), 6:45
H -- Evans 6 run (Caldwell kick), 4:17
H -- Evans 60 run (Caldwell kick), 2:05
H -- Evans 98 kick return (kick failed), 11:37
H -- J.D. Pendergrass 75 pass from Evans (Caldwell), 8:33
MB -- Shedrick Pointer 90 fumble return (kick blocked), 6:39
MB -- Xayvion Knox 25 fumble return (Toon kick), 6:17
MB -- Chunk Grissett 18 pass from Doty (Toon kick), :5.6
H -- Collins Bishop Jr. 4 run (Caldwell kick), 11:11
MB -- Daron Finkley 8 pass from Doty (Toon kick), 8:20
H -- Bishop 14 run (Caldwell kick), 7:17
H -- Bishop 7 run (Caldwell kick), 3:17
RECORDS: MB 7-1 overall, 4-1 Region 6-4A; H 9-0, 5-0.