Irmo coach Bob Hanna had watched extra point attempt after extra point attempt go awry Friday night against rival Dutch Fork. The Yellow Jackets had two kicks blocked and failed on two other two-point conversions, so the decision was an easy one trailing by a point in overtime.
Hanna elected to go for two, and, when Demetrius Lewis found a wide open Shawn Copeland in the front of the end zone for the two-point conversion, the Yellow Jackets snapped a five-game losing streak in the series and had a a wild 42-41 victory against their rival.
“I felt like our offense was doing some good things and we hadn’t been very good at kicking it earlier,” Hanna said. “We sort of ran the same play we scored the touchdown on and Lewis found Copeland open in the end zone.”
Irmo tied the game on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to De’Ares Nelson on its first play of the overtime period.
The win was exactly what Irmo (2-4) needed. The Yellow Jackets came into the game 1-4 but their four losses were by a combined 25 points against tough competition. It didn’t come without some tough times. The two teams combined for 30 penalties and the Yellow Jackets had two first-quarter fumbles that led to a 14-0 deficit. They had to overcome a 19-0 deficit last week in earning their first win of the season, against Aiken.
Irmo forced the extra period when Lewis found a wide open Copeland for a 51-yard scoring toss with 1:23 remaining in regulation. The touchdown tied it at 34 but Dutch Fork (4-2) blocked the extra point.
“I’m just glad we played the way we’re capable of playing,” Hanna said. “We’ve come close all season, and I told the kids if we stop hurting ourselves — we did it tonight — we would be a dang good football team. I see their heart and guts because a lot of teams would have quit, but they weren’t going to do that.”
It was a bitter pill for Dutch Fork to swallow. The Silver Foxes have been ranked in the top of the 4A rankings all season but they suffered their second consecutive defeat. It was again a lack of offense in the second half that was their undoing. They managed six points in the second half until scoring first in the overtime on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Derek Olenchuk to Deion Frasier.
A week ago, in a loss to No. 3 ranked Goose Creek, the Silver Foxes held a 21-20 halftime lead, but were shut out in the second half.
“They just made one more play than we did,” Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts said. “We, basically, shut down on offense like we’ve been doing in the second half. We have to find a way to finish the game. We weren’t any good in the fourth quarter. Region play starts next week, and we’ll try to rebound but this one will hurt for a long time.”
Dutch Fork played without leading rusher Matt Colburn but Olenchuk picked up the slack. He threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns, but the inability to get into the end zone in the second half proved costly.
Irmo blocked a punt in the third quarter that led to a Lewis 15-yard touchdown pass to Channing Quattlebaum to get to within 28-25.
The Silver Foxes responded with their only scoring drive of the second half, a methodical 15-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Walter Roberson diving in from the 1-yard line. The Yellow Jackets blocked the extra point to make it a 34-25 game with 10:14 remaining.
Trace Mills kicked a 26-yard field goal on the next Irmo possession to make it 34-28 with 5:23 remaining. Dutch Fork went three-and out to give the Yellow Jackets the ball back at the Silver Foxes 37-yard line with 3:32 remaining.
Lewis kept the drive alive when he converted a fake punt on a 4th-and-10 play. He found an open Will Jamison to give the Yellow Jackets the ball at midfield and a new life.
Three plays later, Copeland snuck out the backfield and was wide open in the middle of the field for the tying 51-yard score.
“They were blitzing from the outside all night and I told Shawn to slip in there,” Lewis said. “All I had to do was make the throw.”
“We’re not a 1-4 team,” Hanna said. “Even if we didn’t pull this out, I think the kids still believe, and we’re heading in the right direction. The fact we won this game is irrelevant. I saw enough to know we have a good football team.”
DF – Marcus Spearman 38 pass from Derek Olenchuk (Tyler Bass kick) 6:25
DF – Walter Roberson 1 run (Bass kick) 4:47
I – Manny Banks 77 pass from Demetrius Lewis (kick blocked) 4:29
DF - Roberson 35 pass from Olenchuk (Bass kick) 1:54
I – Lewis 2 run (pass failed) 11:03
DF – Julian Heyward 25 pass from Olenchuk (Bass kick) 3:25
I – Shyheim Copeland 3 run (pass failed) 0:19
I – Channing 15 pass from Lewis (Trace Mills kick) 4:50
DF – Roberson 1 run (kick blocked) 10:14
I – Mills 26 FG 5:23
I – Copeland 51 pass from Lewis (kick blocked) 1:23
DF – Deion Frasier 13 pass from Olenchuk (Bass kick)
I – De’Ares Nelson 10 pass from Lewis (Copeland pass from Lewis)