Easley takes down Woodmont for third straight win

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

EASLEY — Sometimes winning is the best medicine, and it certainly was Friday night for Easley High School football coach Jordan Durrah, who had a tough week health-wise leading up to the game.

Easley exploded for three third-quarter touchdowns to take a 36-17 homecoming win over Woodmont at Bill Carr Stadium.

“I had a rough week,” Durrah said while struggling a bit to talk after the game. “That was good. I was proud of the guys for coming out, playing well and getting the victory tonight.“

Things started out inauspiciously for the Green Wave. Before the first


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snap, quarterback Kalab Sutton and left tackle D.J. Kittles had to go to the sideline for a play for having their pants above the knees.

After a tackle for a loss on the first play from scrimmage, Sutton’s toss to Ethan Alexander was behind the line and Woodmont beat him to the ball at the Easley 7.

Woodmont scored two plays later, with back Trae Broughton taking it eight yards up the middle to make it 7-0 with 9:12 left in the first quarter.

The Wave knew they needed to keep pace with Woodmont or at least keep the Wildcat offense off the field. Strange things continued on the next play from scrimmage, as Sutton’s deep pass to Will Patton was dropped.

The Easley defense made a stand as senior Andrew Pinnica came up with consecutive tackles, including one for a loss.

Easley, 3-1 and now riding a three-game winning streak, got going on the next series as Sutton and senior tight end Ethan Swann hooked up four times, including the first play for 11 yards and the final play over the middle as the pass initially caromed off his hands before he corraled it in the end zone with 3:01 left in the first quarter. Alexander’s kick tied the score at 7-7.

It didn’t take long for the defense to make another big play. On third and four at the Easley 26, Broughton fumbled and senior Noah Pierce recovered for Easley.

The Green Wave drove quickly, going 76 yards in six plays, including four passes. Sutton hit Chris Clemons for nine and the Wildcats were hit with a late hit penalty down to the 9-yard line. On the next play, Sutton kept behind right guard Tristan Rosemond for the touchdown, giving Easley a 14-7 lead with 11:54 left in the half.

Woodmont answered, overcoming a touchdown nullified due to a penalty and scoring on a three-yard run by Broughton on fourth and goal with 4:20 left in the half. The seven-plus-minute drive was aided by a questionable pass interference penalty.

Woodmont (3-2) got the ball back and reached the Easley 11, but ran out of time before the break to keep the score tied at 14-14 at intermission.

“We said  ‘Look, guys, we can’t do stuff that is going to lose us football games,’” Durrah said of halftime “‘We can’t turn the ball over and we can’t commit penalties. We’re going to go out here and not get a lot of penalties, protect the ball on offense and get off the field on defense and we’ll win the game.’ I thought the guys did a good job of taking that message in and applying it in the second half.”

At halftime, senior Emma Grayce Hemphill was selected homecoming queen.

That was an additional distraction for the team this week.

“We talked to them throughout the week that the most important thing is to win the game,” Durrah said of homecoming week. “Everybody will have a good time, but the most important thing is to win the game. Everybody has a bad taste in your mouth when you lose homecoming. We continued to remind them, ‘Let’s go out and focus and do the main thing.’”

The third quarter was all Easley. The defense forced a punt on Woodmont’s first series as Pierce, Talan Scott and Luke Peeples teamed to sack the quarterback.

It only took five plays for the Green Wave to go 74 yards and reclaim the lead. On first and 10 at the 47, Sutton hit Clemons in the left flats, where Patton had his man blocked. Clemons beat one guy and went untouched for the score with 8:21 left.

“He played well,” Durrah said of Sutton. “I was impressed with him in the passing game. He did a good job of going through progressions and finding the open guys, giving us a chance to win tonight.”

On the extra point, the snap was off and holder Lance Whittam found Swann for the two-point pass, making it 22-14 with 8:21 left in the quarter.

It again didn’t take long for the defense to come up with another big play. After reaching the 47, Woodmont’s A.J. Hackett fumbled a pitch and Peeples recovered at the 49.

“I thought their eye discipline was good for the most part,” Durrah said of his defense. “We gave up a couple of big plays, which is expected here and there. For the most part, the defense flew around and made a lot of plays.”

Easley scored when facing second and 23 at the 28. Sutton hit Patton over the middle and he ran the final 10 yards for the score, making it 29-14 with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

The defense forced a three-and-out and the offense went back to work. The drive covered 66 yards in 13 plays and was capped off by Sutton’s three-yard touchdown run. Sutton was initially stopped short by two defenders, but Kittles came in to give him the extra nudge with 37.9 seconds left in the quarter, making it 36-14.

A big play in the drive happened on fourth and 12 as Sutton hit Patton for 17.

Woodmont followed Easley’s scoring drive with a lengthy 12–play possession, but had to settle for a 34-yard field goal with 5:36 left in the game.

Easley was able to play a lot of backups in the final minutes. Woodmont reached the Easley 9-yard line late, but Hackett’s run on the final play came up two yards short of the end zone.

Easley will play at Southside week, the first of four consecutive road games for the Green Wave. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.


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