Jackets end Lions’ season in Upper State title game

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

GREER — Behind 32-23 and in need of two scores to regain the lead, the Daniel Lions were desperate for any points they could get when they 10 minutes to go against the Greer Yellow Jackets during Friday night’s Upper State championship game at Dooley Field.

The drive started disastrously, with quarterback Tyler Venables sacked back to the 3-yard line. However, Venables made up for the loss by moving the Lions out to their own 16 on fourth down. Despite being 84 yards from the end zone, Daniel head coach Jeff Fruster believed time had become too big a factor to punt the ball away, so the Lions went for it on fourth down.

“We were going to go down fighting,” Fruster said. “We knew we were running thin on opportunities, and as long as we had the ball in our hands, we felt like we had a good chance. We wanted to keep the ball in our hands one more time.”

Just one yard short of the first down, Venables took the snap, only to be stopped by a host of Yellow Jackets, ceding possession to Greer and leading to a 35-23 loss that dropped the Lions to 11-2 and ended their remarkable turnaround season a game shy of the program’s first trip to the state championship game since 2013.

“I think the record is indicative of what this class was capable of doing,” Fruster said following the loss. “I’ve said any manner of things about how proud I am of this group, and I think making it this far just goes to show you how talented a group this is. I told my whole team that this was not a shameful event. This is nothing to hang our heads about. We came and we played hard, and the better team won. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

The fourth-down stop wasn’t out of character for the Yellow Jackets on

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