With control of Region 5-4A on the line, Irmo made No. 7 Lexington sweat on Friday night.
But in the end, the Wildcats held strong for a 24-17 victory on senior night.
It wasn’t over until an untimed kneeldown after the Yellow Jackets’ last-ditch double pass was intercepted by Eric Ricker, who ran around to drain the clock (the game couldn’t end on a defensive penalty on the return). The win was more harrowing than it had any right to be, as Irmo (3-6, 2-1) cut into a 24-3 led in the late going.
“We told our kids coming into this game, we’re in complete control of what happens to us as a football team,” Lexington coach Josh Stepp said. “We wanted to keep it that way.
“We played a good first half, didn’t play well in the second half, but a win’s a win, “he said. “It’s tough to win at any level.”
Senior tailback Slade Carroll carried the load on the ground, powering through tackles to keep Irmo off the field and surpassing 1,000 yards for the season.
The win put Lexington at 8-1 and, more importantly the lone undefeated team at 3-0 in the region.
When Christian Kinsley’s punt rolled dead inside the Irmo one-yard line, pinning the Yellow Jackets with a minute to go.
Slade Carroll, RB Lexington: The senior carried the ball 25 times in his last regular season home game, posting 210 yards and two touchdowns.
Christian Kinsley, K/P Lexington: One of the best kickers in the area, Kinsley hit a 42-yarder, put every one of his kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks and pinned the Yellowjackets in the late going.
36: How many passes Irmo’s run-heavy attack had to throw after falling behind.
45.8: Lexington’s completion percentage, which led to an uncharacteristically inefficient offensive day.
THEY SAID IT
“You can’t (miss chances) against a good football team like Lexington. When you get those opportunities, you’ve got to make those plays” – Reggie Kennedy, Irmo coach
“We’ve got a very resilient group. It’s a very mature group. We’ve got great senior leadership. Our kids never feel like they’re out of a game. They play like they’re behind when we’re ahead.” – Josh Stepp, Lexington coach
HOW THEY SCORED
I — Cates 32 FG, 8:53
L — Schadewald 35 pass from Blake (Kinsley kick), 5:50
L — Carrol 4 run (Kinsley kick), 10:41
L — Carrol 4 run (Kinsley kick), 5:58
L — Kinsley 42 FG, 8:39
I — Tharp 33 pass from Smith (Cates kick), 6:51
I — Love 33 pass from Smith (Cates kick), 3:11
Rushing: I: Tharp 10-86, Bradley 8-34, Smith 10-29. Totals: 28-149. L: Carroll 25-210, Green 5-16, Blake 4-(-9) Rucker 1-9, Wells 2-3, TEAM 1-(-2). Totals: 38-227
Passing: I: Smith 21-35-0-190, Jamison 0-1-1-0. Totals: 21-36-1-190. L: Blake 11-24-1-150.
Receiving: I: Heath 10-76, Tharp 3-65, Love 3-34, Dweitt 2-11, Jamison 2-7, Bradley 1-2. L: Hopper 7-86, Schadewald 2-50, Wells 2-14.