On his first touchdown of the night, Dre Williams had to bounce off a half-dozen would-be tacklers and extend the football past the end zone line before his knees crashed to the turf.
That score came 52 seconds into the third quarter of Rock Hill’s 27-13 victory against Ridge View on Friday night. Williams’ second score was equally impressive - his 60-yard interception return with 1:34 left to play.
"That’s what it’s about," Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery said. "Players have got to make plays."
The Bearcats had scored the go-ahead touchdown less than a minute before Williams snagged a wobbly pass from Ridge View quarterback Devin Kennedy off his shoetops.
"It seemed like I was gonna run into my corner first," Williams said. "But I just reached down and it was in my hands, so I grabbed and tried to get what I could get."
It seemed appropriate that a defensive score sealed what had been, on both sides, a game only defensive coordinators could love.
The longest offensive play was 28 yards - a third-down completion from Corey Wessinger to Kirob Sims that set up Rock Hill’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Neither offense found a rhythm, tripped up by fumbles, interceptions and penalties.
"There was a lot of hitting going on," Ridge View coach Raymond Jennings said. "It was a physical football game. They have a lot of big players and receivers, so there was a lot of pounding going on. We could just never get in stride, offensively."
It didn’t look like a defensive struggle early - four of the Bearcats’ first five plays picked up first downs. But the Ridge View defense stiffened once Rock Hill (5-1) reached the 19 and forced the Bearcats to settle for a 37-yard field goal from Micah Burklin, who would play a huge role in the game. His booming punts and kickoffs kept the Blazers (2-4) pinned deep in their own territory.
The Ridge View defense came up with the first big play of the game. Rock Hill quarterback Kenterius Hinton rolled out to his right, running parallel to his receiver about 10 yards downfield. Problem was, Ridge View linebacker Lavarius Ashford was running parallel to Hinton, too, and he was about nine yards downfield. He picked off the pass and, 63 yards later, the Blazers had a 7-3 lead.
The only other scoring in the first half was a safety by Rock Hill.
"There were only 12 points on the board then they’ve got seven and we’ve got five," Montgomery said. "And we scored all of them, with the interception they took back."
RH - Micah Burklin 38 field goal
RV - Lavarius Ashford 63 interception return (Larry August kick)
RH - safety
RH - Dre Williams 16 run (Savion Thoms run)
RV - Rodrick Williams 2 run (kick failed)
RH - Jamel Jones 11 pass from Corey Wessinger (Burklin kick)
RH - Dre Williams 60 interception return (Burklin kick)
RUSHING - Rock Hill: Arthur Heyward 7-40, Corey Wessinger 5-(minus-11), Kenterius Hinton 9-7, Savion Thoms 6-27, Justin McClure 1-2, Dre Williams 8-44, Jonathan Adams 8-20. Ridge View: Rodrick Williams 8-23, Tevin Adams 2-3, Gary Bradshaw 8-33, Devin Kennedy 3-(minus-9), Brandon Ruff 1-(minus-10).
PASSING - Rock Hill: Corey Wessinger 10-15-1-95, Kenterius Hinton 3-4-1-10, Dre Williams 0-2-0-0. Ridge View: Devin Kennedy 11-22-3-74.
RECEIVING - Rock Hill: Kirob Sims 4-39, Trey Murdock 2-30, Arthur Heyward 2-8, Jamel Jones 2-11, Joe Perry 2-12, De’Bron Crockett 1-5. Ridge View: Malcolm Graham 5-47, Trevon Howell 1-4, Rodrick Williams 2-0, Brandon Ruff 1-12, Aaron Noble 1-8, Gary Bradshaw 1-3.