John Ragin’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Omarion Dollison with 14 seconds left ended Irmo’s wild fourth quarter at Spring Valley on Friday night.
Dollison finished the night with 128 yards and a TD on 16 carries — all in the second half — as the Yellow Jackets escaped with a 31-28 victory over the Vikings at Harry Parone Stadium.
“We were lucky. We turned the ball over all night,” Irmo coach Reggie Kennedy said. “I told them all week that we’ve got two good football teams playing and we needed to protect the football. But the defense made some big plays, and we won a super ballgame.”
It was the Region 4-5A opener for both teams.
Ragin’s TD pass, one of just three completions for the Irmo quarterback, capped a night in which the Yellow Jackets (4-2) had five fumbles, three of which were lost.
Fumbles went both ways. The Vikings had 316 yards on the ground on 48 attempts, but the turnovers blotted a possible victory.
Spring Valley (3-2) had three turnovers on the night, two of which gave Irmo a 14-0 lead.
The Vikings battled back to a 15-14 halftime lead, but Irmo’s Angel Camarena made good on a 25-yard field goal late in the third to have the Yellow Jackets up 17-15 going into the final quarter.
Spring Valley struck first when Dollison dropped a ball at the Irmo 20-yard line late in the third quarter. Shaun Wiley pounced on it, and four plays later Adrian Ross ran it in from three yards out to put the Vikings on top 21-17.
Irmo then knocked out a long drive peppered with Dollison runs, including a 2-yard TD run that made it 24-21 Yellow Jackets.
T.J. Wise’s 42-yard TD strike to Malik Wesley with 3:23 left gave the Vikings a 28-24 lead.
Irmo made one last drive, a 14-play, 80-yarder that drained the clock, and went for the win with Dollison.
Irmo’s first half offense was barely present, but it hardly mattered.
Just two minutes into the game, E.J. Grigsby picked off an Alex Herrera pass and returned it 52 yards for the Yellow Jackets’ first score.
Irmo caught another break at the start of the second quarter. With Spring Valley driving, Anthony Wilson lost a T.J. Wise pitch. Okachi Emmonwori scooped it up and bolted for the end zone to make it 14-0 Yellow Jackets.
Spring Valley held onto the ball long enough to profit from two Wilson TD runs. A 17-yarder at the 8:04 mark, and a 32-yarder six minutes later, put the Vikings to within 14- 12.
After three fumbles in the final two minutes of the first half, Herrera punched a 32-yard field goal in to put the Vikings up 15-14 going into halftime.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Okachi Emmanwori can be anywhere he wants in Irmo’s defensive backfield. Besides his fumble return for a touchdown, Emmanwori blocked a PAT and had five tackles on the night.
2. Holding onto a football must be difficult. Irmo and Spring Valley had eight fumbles in the game.
3. Omarion Dollison works fast. After not getting the ball at all in the first half, Dollison needed 10 carries and 12 minutes of game time to get his 100 yards on the night. He finished with 128 yards and a TD
HOW THEY SCORED
I – E.J. Grisby 52 interception return (James Dooley kick) 9:31
I – Okachi Emmanwori 33 fumble return (Angel Camarena kick) 11:38
S – Anthony Wilson 17 run (kick blocked) 8:04
S – Wilson 32 run (pass failed) 2:20
S – Alex Herrera 32 field goal :36
I – Camarena 25 field goal 3:11
S – Adrian Ross 3 run (pass failed) 10:54
I – Omarion Dollison 2 run (Camarena kick) 6:40
S – Malik Wesley 42 pass from T.J. Wise (Herrera kick) 3:23
I – Dollison 22 pass from John Ragin (Camarena kick) :14
Rushing: I: Omarion Dollison 16-128, John Ragin 18-87, Kendrell Flowers 9-18. SV: Marquel Brown 8-65, Adrian Ross 17-85, Anthony Wilson 6-61, T.J. Wise 6-46, Hunter Rogers 1-2, Isaiah Miller 4-11, Akele Pauling 1-9.
Passing: I: John Ragin 3-7-0-46. SV: Alex Herrera 1-5-1-11, T.J. Wise 1-1-0-42.
Receiving: I: Omarion Dollison 1-22, Kendrell Flowers 1-19. SV:Malik Wesley 2-53.