JOHNSTON — By the time Strom Thurmond quarterback Jauveer Hammond threw an incomplete pass in Friday’s 42-13 win against previously unbeaten Brookland-Cayce, he had led the Rebels to a two-score lead.
That point came with 1:20 left in the first half, with the Rebels (5-1, 1-0 Region 5-3A) driving to expand on a 21-7 lead on the Bearcats (5-1, 0-1).
“He had another good night,” coach Lee Sawyer said of Hammond. “We’re starting to get some confidence throwing the ball.”
Hammond completed his first nine passes on the way to a 13-of-17 performance for 201 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. He might have kept the streak going, but the 10th attempt was a screen pass that the Bearcat defense had covered, resulting in an intentional throwaway.
“Coming off of the loss, we knew we had to get better,” Hammond — who also ran for 50 yards on nine carries — said of the team’s mindset after a 27-20 loss to Class 4A power North Augusta last week.
His passing numbers seemed like they might take a back seat, as the Rebels came out on their first possession with a focus on the run. After holding Brookland-Cayce to one first down on the game’s opening drive, Strom Thurmond marched down and scored on an 11-yard run by Delonte Bates.
Bates, despite splitting the rushing load several ways on a night when Strom Thurmond racked up 271 rushing yards, finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
The Bearcats had an answer on their next drive. After getting good field position around midfield, they showed a running attack of their own, and 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback Zeke Walker punched in a 1-yard run to even the score.
Hammond began his aerial assault on the next Rebel drive, which he finished with a 36-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to Kendall Hill. The Rebels scored again before the half, this time on a 5-yard scamper by Deandre Ryan.
” the senior said with a smile.
Brookland-Cayce found the end zone one last time on a 1-yard pass from Walker to Bernard McCall, but only 34 seconds remained. Walker got his numbers in the loss, completing 14 of 22 passes for 186 yards and a score to go with 60 rushing yards. He also threw a fourth-quarter interception, which linebacker Chandler Talbert collected on a play that had been giving the Rebels trouble.