High School Sports

Byrnes Rebels’ late FG takes down Mallard Creek Mavericks 31-29

Mallard Creek quarterback James Smith, right, drops back to pass to a receiver as offensive lineman Eric Douglas, left, blocks Byrnes defensive lineman Vailen White, center, during first quarter action on Friday at Nixon Field in Duncan, S.C.
Mallard Creek quarterback James Smith, right, drops back to pass to a receiver as offensive lineman Eric Douglas, left, blocks Byrnes defensive lineman Vailen White, center, during first quarter action on Friday at Nixon Field in Duncan, S.C. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Mallard Creek hasn’t had many close games over the past three years.

The Mavericks’ game against Byrnes on Friday might certainly top the list.

Thomas Cook’s 19-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining gave the Rebels a rain-soaked 31-29 victory over Mallard Creek, the nation’s No. 7 team.

The field goal capped a fourth quarter that saw the Mavericks rally from a 21-point deficit to take a 29-28 lead on James Smith’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Jones and his own 2-point conversion run with 27 seconds left.

But a long kickoff return by Jaylan Foster, followed by a 24-yard pass from Micah Young to Demarcus Gregory with seven seconds left put Byrnes in scoring position.

Smith finished with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns and threw for 186 yards and one score for the Mavericks. Darnell Walker added 108 rushing yards.

But that first quarter nearly did the Mavericks in.

Byrnes needed just three offensive plays – and a little delving into coach Brian Lane’s book of trick plays – to go up 21-0 before a lightning delay sent the teams off the field for nearly an hour.

On the Rebels’ first possession, Micah Young hit a wide-open Chavis Dawkins for a 62-yard touchdown pass. After a successful onside kick, Young found Dawkins again, this time for 47 yards. Two plays, 27 seconds elapsed, 14-0 Byrnes lead.

And after stopping Mallard Creek on 4th-and-10 at the Rebels’ 22, Byrnes went to the trick plays again. Young found Dawkins again, this time on a brusing 78-yard TD pass in which all of the receivers and linemen lined up on one side of the field, with Young lining up with the center at midfield and Dawkins on the other side.

The Rebels also came up with another big defensive stop just before the delay, with Byrnes defensive back Jaylan Foster picking off James Smith’s pass in the end zone.

However, after the delay, Mallard Creek came out and stopped the Rebels on downs, and a short punt set up Smith’s 13-yard quarterback keeper with 11:12 left in the second quarter.

Records: Mallard Creek 2-1, Byrnes 3-0.

What's Next: Mallard Creek hosts Garinger in a nonconference game next Friday. Byrnes has next week off, and will host Gaffney (S.C.) on Sept. 18.

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