Quincy Riley has found a way to make plays all season and Friday night against Lower Richland, it was no different. This time, it set the tone.
The senior all-purpose player returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown that set in motion a dominating first half that propelled the Falcons to a 38-12 victory against the Diamond Hornets.
Riley also picked off three passes from his secondary position. He has six special team touchdowns on the season.
“I don’t even know what to say about (Riley) anymore,” A.C. Flora coach Collin Drafts said. “Quincy Riley is one of the electric players in the state. There’s no doubt about it. He had another kick return and three interceptions. He’s just flying around all over the field.”
The victory was the sixth straight for A.C. Flora. It sets up a showdown with rival Dreher next week that will decide the Region 4-4A championship.
“It means a lot for what we’ve done, and we have an opportunity,” Drafts said. “At this point, we feel like we need to finish the job and win that last game to be outright champs.”
The opening return was sort of unorthodox. Lower Richland did exactly what it wanted and kicked the ball on the ground to Darian Addison. He ran about 5 yards and flipped it back to Riley, who took it 70 yards right up the middle.
Special teams also helped in other ways. Jalynn Tarver blocked two punts to give the Falcons offense a short field. A.C. Flora started six drive in Lower Richland territory and scored on four of them.
“Special teams definitely set the tone,” Lower Richland coach Rodney Barr said. “They run the kickoff back, and we give them the short field twice. We didn’t put ourselves in a position win because of that.”
Josh Heatley ran for three touchdowns. He had 4 and 1-yard scoring runs in the first half and 2-yard run in the third quarter.
The A.C. Flora defense limited the Diamond Hornets to 269 yards of total offense and much of that came in the fourth quarter when the outcome was already decided.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Quincy Riley deserves to be in one of the two All-Star games in the state. He has played as well as anyone on defense and has been a standout on special teams all season.
2. A.C. Flora’s defense doesn’t get the headlines, but the line, led by Tarver, Dewey Greene and Dontorian Best, are one of the best in the area. They have size and can run. They will be a difficult matchup in the playoffs.
3. Lower Richland lost quarterback Jamison Ganzy to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, but freshman Jeremy Barney came in and threw for 95 yards while directing two scoring drives. If Ganzy is out for an extended period of time, Barney proved in could lead the offense.
HOW THEY SCORED
ACF – Quincy Riley 70 kickoff return (Harper Fordham kick) 11:45
ACF – Josh Heatley 4 run (Fordham kick) 4:16
ACF – Heatley 1 run (Fordham run) 1:17
ACF – Matthew Pack 38 run (Fordham kick) 4:19
ACF – Heatley 2 run (Fordham kick) 5:27
ACF – Fordham 25 FG 0:36
LR – Damonteze Solomon 1 run (pass failed) 10:34
LR – Jamal Henderson 6 pass from Jeremy Barney (pass failed) 2:15
Rushing: ACF – Josh Heatley 10-52, Matthew Jamison 10-14, Matthew Pack 10-104, Darian Addison 5-27, Quincy Riley 1-5, James Deer 2-19. LR – Keyshawn Capers 6-24, Jeremy Barney 8-23, Dedrick Starkes 4-16, Jamison Ganzy 5-22, Damonteze Solomon8-18.
Passing: ACF – Jamison 8-12-0-83, Heatley 0-4-0-0. LR – Ganzy 8-16-2-72, Barney 7-10-1-95 .
Receiving: ACF – RJ Mobley 3-44, Addison 4-35, Pack 1-4. LR – Jamal Henderson 5-55, Quanta Jackson 4-56, Starkes 5-38, Trenton Higgins 1-16.