Richland Northeast opened the 2012 football season with a 28-21 win over South Aiken on Friday at Harry Parone Stadium.
The Cavaliers overcame a mistake-marred second quarter and a two-hour weather delay to score its 16th win in 19 openers.
South Aiken suffered a potentially devastating injury in addition to the defeat. Quarterback Bo Baldwin, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior who is considered one of the top prospects in the nation, left with an injury to his right hand early in the first quarter. Baldwin suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the fourth game last season.
The Cavaliers opened with an impressive first-quarter performance on the way to a 21-0 lead. Offensively, RNE produced 190 yards and touchdowns on its first three possessions. The Cavs’ defense came up with one takeaway and limited the Thoroughbreds to 34 yards.
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Receiver Ryan Howell threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Craishaud Foulks on a flea flicker to open the scoring at 10:39 of the first quarter.
Quarterback A.C. Whaley then went to work, firing scoring strikes to Craishaud Foulks and Howell in a span of five minutes. Whaley hit Foulks up the right sideline for a 55-yard reception one play after an interception by safety Rashaan Bouquin. On the next possession, Whaley threw a perfect pass to Howell at the flag on the left side for a 27-yard scoring play with 2:33 left in the opening quarter.
But it went badly for the Cavaliers in the second quarter when Whaley turned the ball over three times — two interceptions and a fumble.
The second pick by South Aiken defensive end Rashool Clemmons at the RNE 15 set up a 3-yard scoring run by Adam Allen that put the Thoroughbreds on the board at 2:11 of the second quarter.
The Cavaliers needed two passes after the ensuing kickoff to move 78 yards to the South Aiken 1. But Whaley fumbled on the next play and Jordan Scott recovered for the T-Breds in the end zone.
South Aiken then beat the clock by moving 80 yards to make it a one-score game. A 40-yard, third-down run on by Damion Brown to the RNE 39 made a touchdown bid feasible. Backup quarterback Will Holbrooks hit tight end Trent Williams with a 17-yard scoring pass with 17 seconds left in the half to cut the deficit to 21-14.
The back-and-fourth action continued in the second half until the RNE defense came up big late. Ahmad Dunlap recovered a fumble at the South Aiken 49 with 3:22 to go and Rashaan Bourquin intercepted a desperation pass at the RNE 2 as time expired.
RNE – Craishaud Foulks 49 pass from Ryan Howell (Sam Lourie kick), 10:39
RNE – C. Foulks 55 pass from A.C. Whaley (Lourie kick), 7:34
RNE – Howell 27 pass from Whaley (Lourie kick), 2:33
SA – Adam Allen 3 run (Owen Myers kick), 2:11
SA – Trent Williams 17 pass from Will Holbrooks (Myers kick), 0:17
RNE – Howell 12 pass from Whaley (Lourie kick), 0:26
SA – DeAndre Schoultz 86 run (Myers kick), 7:57