It was a blast-from-the-past kind of night at W.C. Hawkins Stadium last Friday when Irmo defeated Ridge View 7-0 in the first round of the Class 4A Division I state football playoffs. 7-0? It was the lowest combined point total in a 4A postseason game in 10 years since Stratford beat Sumter 2002 by a 3-0 count.
But winning the old-school, less-than-gaudy way has been a Yellow Jackets staple this season. In fact, Irmo entered the state playoffs with the lowest per-game scoring average (20.8 ppg) of any team in Division I. The only thing that matters is scoring one more point than the opposition, thus netting a win and advancement.
Irmo (7-5) did just that against Ridge View. Shyheim Copeland scored the only touchdown of the game in the second quarter and Ben Hinson added the PAT kick. Copeland accounted for 100 of the Jackets’ 171 total offensive yards – all on the ground on 16 carries.
Ridge View rang up 276 yards on the attack, but the Yellow Jackets negated the advantage with three takeaways – two fumble recoveries, and one interception by Ronald Millhouse. The Irmo defense came up big in the second half, in particular, denying three Ridge View moves inside the Jackets 30-yard line – two of the moves ending with fumbles.
The next test for Irmo defense will be a challenging one against a White Knoll team that is enjoying its finest season ever. The Timberwolves stand at 9-3 and fresh from their first-ever playoff win – 25-20 at Wando. WK is averaging 25.5 points and 317.8 yards per game. Balance is a word that is not in the T-Wolves offensive vocabulary. Running the ball is the WK bread and butter. The team has 3,573 rushing yards on the books and is averaging 6.3 yards per carry for the season and 297.8 yards per game.
Friday marks the first postseason meeting of the teams and the first encounter since 2009. Irmo has dominated the T-Wolves since the first clash in 2002 – winning all eight encounters.