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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Red Raiders advance, Saints season ends

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Calhoun County receiver Justen Brunson tries to get around two Southside Christian defenders Friday in the Saints 28-6 loss to the Sabres in the Class A Upper State playoffs.

In the battle of the unbeatens, Bamberg-Ehrhardt improved to 12-0 with a 33-6 victory over Baptist Hill Friday in Hollywood.

The Red Raiders advance to the Class A Lower State final where they will face C.E. Murray. The War Eagles defeated Whale Branch 47-0 Friday.

Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Nick Folk kicked off the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown run with 7:06 left in the first quarter. James McIntosh's kick gave the Red Raiders a 7-0 lead.

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A Baptist Hill fumble gave Bamberg-Ehrhardt its second opportunity to score in the first period. The Red Raiders used an 11-play drive, but had to settle for a 30-yard field goal from McIntosh to increase the lead to 10-0.

The Bobcats got their first break in the second period when quarterback Harold Gathers completed a pass that was taken 65 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Baptist Hill cut the lead to 10-6. 

The Bobcats forced a fourth down on B-E's next possession, but a roughing the passer call gave the Red Raiders a first down. Quintin Banks made the most of it, rushing 12 yards for his first touchdown of the night. 

Baptist Hill's next offensive possession ended after Jerome Simmons, Christian Draper and Quincy Bias each sacked Gathers in succession.

"Baptist Hill does such a great job of throwing the ball," B-E head coach Robert Williams said following Friday's win. "We worked all week on coverages, and wanted to put some pressure on the quarterback."

Williams said he thought his team was a bit bigger and stronger along the defensive line, allowing the Red Raiders to pressure Gathers for a majority of the game.

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Banks added another touchdown run with 3:21 remaining in the first half to give the Red Raiders a 24-6 lead.

In the second half, the Red Raider defense continued to hassle Gathers as Yzorion Washington picked up a sack.

Quincy Bias added a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run, and the Red Raiders concluded the scoring with just under three minutes to play when the Bobcats snapped the ball over Gathers head resulting in a safety.

Banks led the B-E rushing attack with 152 yards and two touchdowns while Nick Folk had 135 yards and a score. Quincy Bias rushed for 53 yards, mostly in the second half, and finished with a touchdown. 

"We pride ourselves on our rushing attack," Williams said. "I thought the offensive line did a good job (tonight)."

In Class A Upper State, top-ranked Southside Christian traveled to St. Matthews and defeated Calhoun County 28-6.

"We just didn't play well at all," Calhoun County head coach Wayne Farmer said after the game. "(Southside Christian) is a well-coached, disciplined football team. We missed some assignment tonight, fell behind early and couldn't come back."

Ahmir Smith led the Saints on offense with 87 yards rushing and the lone touchdown.

Farmer said he was not surprised by the Sabres' defense, his team was just unable to execute when it needed to.

Defensively, Justen Brunson led Calhoun County with 10 tackles while Hiram Stready Jr. added six tackles and two tackles for loss.

The Saints finish the season as Region III-A champions and a 7-5 record.

"We went through a lot of adversity early in the season," Farmer said. "We had to re-patch our offensive line a few times this season, but I'm proud of our team's effort. They found a way to keep fighting through the season."

Farmer said he was impressed with his underclassmen following Friday's loss. Many were gathering, already making plans for next season.

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"We thought we had a shot this year, but we had a tough loss," Farmer said. "Those young guys are wanting to make sure they don't feel like this again next season. We have some young talent coming back and I feel like we can make another run."

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