Chapin coach Justin Gentry was leery of first-round opponent Wilson in the Class 4A playoffs, despite the Tigers having a losing record coming in.
Wilson featured junior Xavier Thomas, one of the best defensive linemen in the country and the state’s top-rated recruit in the Class of 2018, but not much else on either side of the ball.
So those fears might have only lasted all of 13 seconds.
Nick Price returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to propel Chapin to a 48-14 thrashing of the Tigers on Friday night at Cecil Woolbright Field.
“We had a lot of unknowns coming into the playoffs,” Gentry said. “We’ve been in the Upper State since I got here, so playing teams from the Lower State was different. Price got us off to a good start and things just snowballed from there.”
Chapin will host Beaufort, a 23-15 winner over Lugoff-Elgin, next Friday.
The Eagles (9-2) used Cooper Bemis and Trad Beatty at quarterback, and didn’t miss a beat. Bemis threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while Beatty ran for 65 yards and a touchdown. Mark Shealy added two scoring runs and Kale Rhame hauled in two touchdown passes – one from each QB.
“We feed off of each other,” said Bemis, who started. “We’re very confident in each other and don’t feel like the team misses anything when we change out. I know when Trad goes in he’ll do well, and he feels the same way about me.”
The Eagles scored on seven of 10 possessions.
Thomas exited the game late in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. He didn’t return.
“We were worried about Thomas coming in, but we had a good scheme and was able to get two bodies on him at all times,” Bemis said.
The kickoff return started the onslaught, but the final blow occurred right before the half. Chapin got the ball back at the Wilson 44-yard line and took three plays to reach the end zone. Bemis found Rhame wide open for the 21-yard score and a 34-7 lead.
Bemis: The senior was almost perfect throwing. He finished 10 of 12 for 164 yards and two touchdowns. One of his incompletions was a drop.
Beatty: The junior didn’t throw it as much as Bemis, but finished with 65 yards on six carries. He had runs of 16, 11 and 25 and scored on a 1-yard touchdown.
8: Catches for Xzavion Gordon that totaled 118 yards
92: Tristen Ellerbe only had one carry for Wilson but it went for 92 yards and a score
THEY SAID IT
“We’ve been hesitant to run Trad since he had the injured shoulder earlier in the year but he has deceptive speed. We didn’t want him to suffer a setback but the way he ran it tonight, he looked good.” Gentry
How they scored
C – Nick Price 89 kickoff return (Scott Samson kick) 11:46
C – Xzavion Gordon 46 pass from Cooper Bemis (kick failed) 6:28
C – Kale Rhame 26 pass from Trad Beatty (Samson kick) 8:51
W – Tristin Ellerbe 92 run (Tyler Schimek kick) 7:52
C – Beatty 1 run (Samson kick) 3:59
C – Rhame 21 pass from Bemis (Samson kick) 0:10
C – Mark Shealy 14 run (Samson kick) 5:40
W – Tylon Grainger 2 run (Schimek kick) 11:49
C – Shealy 34 run (Samson kick) 9:26
Rushing: W: Tristin Ellerbe 1-92, Tylon Grainger 22-104, Jacob Quillen 4-23, Raymon State 7-18, Team 2-(-12). C: Mark Shealy 7-73, Trad Beatty 6-65, Cole Owens 1-7, Cooper Bemis 5-10, Jacob Drag 1-(-1), Joshua Loy 1-1, Cooper Evans 2-1.
Passing: W: Quillen 9-24-0-103. C: Bemis 10-12-0-164, Beatty 5-8-0-54, Alex Nelson 1-1-0-12, LaRob Gordon 1-1-0-2
Receiving: W: Tyler Johnson 4-56, Antwan Smith 4-47, Ellerbe 1-0. C: Gordon 8-18, Cole Owens 3-22, Register 1-0, Kale Rhame 3-78, Cole Finn 1-12, Jason Graves 1-2.