Richland Northeast coach Jay Frye delivered the most difficult talk of the season to his team Thursday night at Harry Parone Stadium.
The Cavaliers’ bid for a playoff berth came up just short as they fell to Lancaster 28-26 in a Region 3-4A contest. Frye and his staff have the chore of taking up equipment as their season came to an end. The Bruins earned the final postseason berth in the region and will open the Class 4A playoffs on the road at Belton Honea-Path on November 18.
“We talked about it before the game that it’s a shame one of us has to go home,” RNE coach Jay Frye said. “Still proud of the way we battled to the end, but I guess the region got the best of us with all those great teams.”
Richland Northeast (5-5, 1-5) got down early, but almost rallied to force overtime. Trailing 28-13, Charles Simons connected with Jaquain Hills on a 33-yard touchdown with 2:50 remaining to end a 73-yard, eight-play drive that pulled them within a score after the extra point.
A successful onside kick put RNE in business at the Bruins’ 47. Simons converted a fourth down on the drive and connected with Hills on a 9-yard scoring strike with 1:16 remaining to set the stage for the 2-point conversion try.
Simons rolled to his right, but the pass was deflected away from his intended receiver.
“My hat goes off the Coach Frye,” Lancaster coach Bobby Collins said. “His kids played hard for four quarters and it came down to a two-point conversion at the end.”
The Cavaliers attempted another onside kick, but the Bruins came up with the recovery and ran out the clock.
Lancaster (5-5, 2-3) had a 21-7 halftime lead. Grier scored on a 10-yard run before C’darious Catoe returned a punt 55 yards for a score for the Bruins. Davis answered with an 11-yard TD for the Cavaliers but Jamias Shropshire scored on a 33-yard run to give Lancaster the two-score lead at the break.
RNE opened the second half with a 1-yard run by Tyquandre Davis to pull within 21-13 after the PAT was blocked. They forced a Lancaster punt, but on the next offensive play fumbled it back. Seven plays later, Farrika Grier scored his second touchdown of the night with an 8-yard run.
Farrika Grier: Grier was the workhorse with 20 carries and 111 yards and two touchdowns for Lancaster.
John Simons: The junior QB for RNE was 19-of-29 for 187 yards and two touchdowns and almost brought them back
4: After a promising start to the non-region portion of the schedule, RNE lost four of five region games to miss the playoffs.
2: Twice Richland Northeast entered Lancaster territory in the first half only to turn it over on downs.
THEY SAID IT
“We did not play well in the first half. We had too many special team mistakes. The offense moved the ball but just wasn’t able to score. But we gave ourselves a chance at the end but came up a little short.” – Frye
“Anytime you turn the ball over and give the short field, you know it’s going to be tough. They scored right there but again we came a little short on the 2-point conversion.” – Frye
HOW THEY SCORED
L – Farrika Grier 10 run (Jacob Cato kick) 10:43
L – C’darious Catoe 55 punt return (Cato kick)
RNE – Tyquandre Davis 11 run (Wade Fletcher kick) 4:39
L – Jamias Shropshire 33 run (Cato kick) 2:21
RNE – Davis 1 run (kick blocked) 5:29
L – Grier 8 run (Cato kick) 11:53
RNE – Hills 33 pass from Charles Simons (Fletcher kick) 2:50
RNE – Hills 9 pass from Simons (pass failed) 1:16
Rushing: L: Farrika Grier 20-111, Jamias Shropshire 8-55, Jiquan Stover 3-5. RNE: Tyquandre Davis 20-93, Charles Simons 14-24, Aloysius Jackson 1-1.
Passing: L: Shropshire 4-9-0-19. RNE: Simons 19-29-0-187.
Receiving: L: Tee Tinsley 1-13, Desmond Stowers 1-3. RNE: Jaquain Hills 6-87, Davis 6-40, Cedric Smith 5-53.