When the Class 4A third-round playoff game between Ridge View and Greer ended Friday night, it was a tie.
Not the game itself. Greer won that, 6-3 on a bitter-cold, rainy, windy night at Dooley Field, sending the Yellow Jackets (12-1) into next week’s Upper State final against Daniel.
The competition that ended in a tie was the one between Quack Cohen, Jakyre Kerns and McZavion Holly, who comprised the three-man rush that wreaked havoc on Ridge View and its quarterback, Javon Anderson, all night long.
“We all got together and we told each other we were going to beat each other to the backfield, so it was kind of a race,” Cohen said. “We pushed each other, and we were sacking him all night.”
On the most important play of the night, midway through the third quarter with Ridge View near midfield, Cohen got to Anderson first. When he did, Anderson’s pass made it only as far as the arms of Kerns, who corralled it and headed in the other direction.
“We had a swap on, and I trusted Quack,” Kerns said. “He set me up. I’ve had knockdowns, but I never caught one. That was my first one.”
“I came in and hit the quarterback and knocked it out of his hand,” said Cohen. “Jakyre caught it, and me and him were going to the end zone.”
Kerns didn’t make it all the way, but he reached the Ridge View 18-yard line.
“Unbelievable,” Greer coach Will Young said. “It’s the play of the game. I don’t think there’s any question about it. It put us in a position to be able to score. Fortunately we were able to put it in the end zone, which we weren’t very good at tonight.”
Dre Williams carried the ball three times, the third time into the end zone from the 1. The point-after kick was no good, but Greer had a 6-3 lead with 6:15 left in the third quarter.
That was all Greer needed, that and the continuation of an outstanding performance by its defense, which had given up 40 points in the Jackets’ second-round victory against York.
“Obviously our defense came to play,” Young said. “They got challenged a little bit last week, and I think the coaches challenged them, and they obviously showed up ready to play tonight.”
Ridge View’s defense also was good, limiting Greer to 157 total yards. Williams, who surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for the season, accounted for most of it, rushing for 136 yards on 29 carries.
But Greer, which will host the Upper State final for the second year in a row, was shut out in the first half and managed only 11 first downs.
“I thought their defensive front played extremely well,” Young said. “We knew 77 (Jayln Dunbar) and 90 (Jurnee Dunbar) were really good, and they proved it.”
Ridge View (8-4) scored its only points on a 33-yard field goal by Nick Lawyer, which was set up when the Blazers recovered a fumble at the Greer 32-yard line.
Anderson finished with 191 yards passing, completing 14 of 41 attempts. Ridge View had 290 total yards, but he struggled to avoid Holly, Cohen and Kerns.
“We see it on a regular basis,” Young said, “so we know how good that front is and how talented they are.”
“We’ve got the best defensive line in the state. Hands down,” said Kerns. “We just put our hearts into it.”