Greenville finished in a three-way tie for first in Region 2-3A, but an unfavorable tiebreaker sentenced the Red Raiders to a first-round playoff road trip for the first time in 11 years.
The change in venue, however, did nothing to mitigate Greenville’s success in playoff openers.
The Red Raiders rolled to a 35-21 victory against Region 4 runner-up Chapin on Friday at Cecil Woolbright Field, their sixth straight postseason-opening win and their 11th in 12 tries.
“We were out of our routine playing on the road, which is probably why we got off to a slow start,” Greenville coach Phil Magdic said. “But we had a simple offensive plan, and we executed it for the most part. When they had five men in the box, we ran it. When they had seven up, we threw it.”
Quarterback Clark Scolalmiero made the right reads more often than not, and running back Jamond Thomason was the beneficiary — finishing with 155 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 33 carries.
“We’re ready to run it or throw it, but tonight we had the chance to run it a lot and the line did some big-time blocking,” Thomason said.
Chapin (5-6) scored on its first possession of each half but squandered a chance to make things interesting in the third quarter with two stalls inside the Greenville 30-yard line.
“We made a strong run here at the end of the season, but in the playoffs, you just can’t afford to make as many mistakes as we did and win,” Eagles coach Justin Gentry said. “We had our chances but couldn’t take advantage. I think we have the program going in the right direction because the kids have bought into the idea of fighting to the end. With that attitude, we have something to build on.”
Jacob Eddington led Chapin’s offense with 74 yards rushing. Matt Charpia had 102 yards passing but threw three interceptions. Barrett Charpia had five catches for 59 yards and threw a scoring pass to Carter White on a flea flicker early in the third quarter to cut the Greenville lead to 21-14.
The Eagles pulled within 28-21 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter on Robie Lopez’s second scoring run, but the Red Raiders iced it on Thomason’s fourth score of the game, six plays after William Griffin picked off a Charpia pass at the Eagles 28.
Greenville cashed in another short field in the first half on a botched punt snap by Chapin.
C — Robie Lopez 2 run (Zach McCall kick), 10:07
G — Jamond Thomason 3 run (Keith Carmilovich kick), 7:44
C — Caleb Franklin 14 pass from Clark Scolamiero (Carmilovich kick), 6:38
G — Thomason 10 run (Carmilovich kick), 3:56
C — Carter White 19 pass from Barrett Charpia (McCall kick), 10:27
G — Thomason 8 run (Carmilovich kick), 5:09
C –Lopez 3 run (McCall kick), 11:04
G — Thomason 1 run (Carmilovich kick), 3:43