In the previous 44 meetings between Irmo and Lexington, there probably never has been one played out like the Yellow Jackets’ emotional 26-24 victory Friday night at W.C. Hawkins Stadium — a game that lasted three-and-a-half hours.
To start, both teams came in winless and in need of something positive.
Add in the penalties, overturned calls, a bank of lights going dark for 15 minutes and Lexington freshman standout Davon Johnson being carted off the field with an undisclosed injury, and it all added up to a bizarre setting for the annual “Battle of the Dam” contest.
But with all distractions and costly mistakes on both sides, it came down to a handful of special teams plays that made the difference.
Irmo tied it at 17 with a 2-yard scoring run by backup quarterback Demetruis Lewis on the third play of the fourth quarter. After stopping the Wildcats on a three-and-out on their next series, Lexington snapped the ball over Caleb Berry’s head on 4th-and-1 from their 29-yard line. Berry picked the ball up at the goal line and alertly ran out of the end zone for a safety.
The game turned on the next play after the free kick.
It appeared Lexington’s Al Walker had turned the tide with a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown to give the lead back to Lexington. But the Wildcats were flagged for a personal foul before the throw, and Lexington coach Scott Earley and the Wildcats sideline was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct to give Irmo possession at the Wildcats 21-yard line after the two 15-yard penalties.
Four plays later, Lewis connected with Shikee Brooks in the corner of the end zone to extend the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 26-17 with seven minutes to play.
Lexington (0-4) answered on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Will Hunter 1-yard TD run with 4:03 remaining.
Irmo had to punt from their own 10 to give Lexington the ball at the 45-yard line with 2:53 to go, but four plays netted 3 yards to give the Yellow Jackets the ball back with 1:56 remaining.
A fumble on third down was recovered by Lewis. Then on fourth down, punter Ben Hinson had to scramble back to his goal line to pick up an errant snap and get a punt off to midfield with one second to go.
Hunter’s final throw was intercepted to give Irmo (1-3) it’s first victory.
L – Grayson Chumley 29 run (Adrian Leon kick) 9:09
I – Ben Hinson 38 FG 2:40
L – Logan Stills 32 pass from Will Hunter (Leon kick) 0:30
I – Bryce Fashaw 5 run (Hinson kick) 11:54
L – Leon 20 FG 0:00
I – Demetruis Lewis 2 run (Hinson kick) 11:10
I – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone 9:35
I – Shikee Brooks 9 pass from Lewis (Hinson kick) 7:00
L – Hunter 1 run (Leon kick) 4:03