After several closes misses, Irmo found a way to finish off a tight game Monday night. The Yellow Jackets scored on four of five second-half possessions to run past White Knoll 27-22 in the Region 5-4A opener.
The first half served as a feeling out process. The Timberwolves held a 3-0 lead, but it didn’t take Irmo (2-5, 1-0) long to get going in the second half. Shakeem Bradley raced 79 yards on the Yellow Jackets’ first offensive play of the third quarter to give them the lead.
White Knoll (5-2, 0-1) answered back when Maurice Jones scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 7-yard run. But Bradley took two plays to give Irmo the lead for good.
The junior ripped off a 55-yard run before capping the two-play drive with a three-yard run.
“We felt if we could get to the second level, we could make some plays,” Irmo coach Reggie Kennedy said.
The Yellow Jackets salted it away when they converted a fourth-down pass from Mason Smith to Braxton McDuffie to make it 27-15 with 2:54 remaining. White Knoll added a touchdown with 1:08 remaining, but Ronnie Jamsion recovered the onside kick that allowed Irmo to run out the clock .
Shakeem Bradley: The junior ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He had 163 of his yards in the second half, when Irmo collected 328 of its 493 total yards.
Mason Smith: The senior quarterback threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns in managing a high-powered attack in the second half. He also ran for 41 yards.
Calev Grubbs: With Jones and Gary Shell having off games, Grubbs ran for 167 yards and threw for 94 more. White Knoll finished with 400 yards.
3: Irmo was a perfect 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions. The final one was the decisive 27-yard scoring pass to McDuffie.
3: Irmo moved the ball in the first half, but three turnovers on five possessions kept them scoreless.
THEY SAID IT
“We made plays down the stretch. We came out more aggressively and made some changes on defense. We went to an attack mode instead of reacting. At this stage, we can’t hold back. It’s nice to start region play with a victory.” – Irmo coach Reggie Kennedy
“They have two really good, athletic safeties and they did a good job coming up and making plays. It’s hard to block when they have eight or nine in there.” – White Knoll coach Dean Howell
HOW THEY SCORED
WK – Daniel Fulmer 40 FG 7:02
I – Shakeem Bradley 79 run (kick failed) 9:24
WK – Maurice Jones 7 run (kick blocked) 7:42
I – Bradley 3 run (Austin Cates kick) 7:17
I – Ronnie Jamison 23 pass from Mason Smith (Cates kick) 2:07
WK – Jones 35 pass from Parker McInnis (Fulmer kick) 7:31
I – Braxton McDuffie 27 pass from Smith (Cates kick) 2:54
WK – Jones 7 pass from Grubbs (Fulmer kick) 1:08
Rushing: I – Shakeem Bradley 15-184, Jeffery Tharp 12-58, Mason Smith 8-41, Team 1-(-5). WK – Calev Grubbs 17-167, Maurice Jones 12=38, Gary Shell 11-66, Team 1-(-1).
Passing: I – Smith 18-27-2-210, Team 0-1-0-0. WK – Grubbs 11-18-1-94, Parker McInnis 1-1-0-35
Receiving: I – Tharp 3-57, Bradley 3-18, Ronnie Jamison 3-36, Raekwon Heath 3-16, Brandon Love 4-39, Braxton McDuffie 2-44. WK – Thomas Scott 5-53, McInnis 4-32, Jones 2-42, Jayllen Crosby 1-2.