The Orangeburg Prep Indians came up short on senior night against the Ben Lippen Falcons 34-7.
The Indians (4-3) hung with the defending SCISA 3A state champions (5-2) for the first half before the Falcons were able to pull away in the second half of the Friday night contest in Orangeburg.
Despite the loss, Indians head coach Andy Palmer was impressed with the 10 seniors and the culture they have created at OPS.
“From day one, they have bought into what we are trying to do. The weight room in the offseason, their leadership role and everything else,” Palmer said.
“Those 10 came out here tonight and did a beautiful job in leading this group. The score is not what we wanted it to be, but we can’t say that we didn’t battle all the way through.”
The Indians, led by their seniors, did battle, especially in the first half. The defense only gave up seven points. Those were scored on the second play of the game, and the Indians held the Falcons scoreless for the remainder of the half.
Although the OPS defense played well in the first half, the offense struggled.
In the first quarter, OPS suffered several quick three-and-outs. Then a punt block by senior RB/LB Bill Metts in the second quarter seemed to be a spark, but the offense was still out of rhythm.
At the half, the Falcons led 7-0.
In the second half, the Indian offense continued to bog down, finally finding some success in the final seconds of the third quarter.
OPS was able to move into field goal position before the attempt was blocked and recovered by the Falcons. On the return, the Indians forced a fumble and were able to recover it.
From there, OPS was able to score two plays later on a five-yard run by senior Andrew Brickle. It would be the Indians' lone score of the night.
On the other side of the ball, the OPS defense finally gave in. A couple of big plays led to touchdowns, and the Falcons were able to separate themselves from the Indians.
OPS travels to Charleston to face Northwood Academy next Friday.
Even with the loss, Palmer said it has been a pleasure coaching the seniors.
“It makes a coach’s life good when you have kids that want to be coached,” Palmer said.
“They just come to work every day, they don’t complain about anything. They do what they are asked to do, and they are very coachable,” Palmer said.