The outcome was sweet. The wait, the opponent, the setting, it all made it seem even sweeter.
Philip Simmons picked up its first win of the season, 27-18 over Hanahan Friday at Wiley Knight Stadium.
It was the first meeting between the Hawks and second-year Iron Horses, new neighbors and budding rivals separated by 12 miles.
Philip Simmons outlined a few defensive goals against Hanahan. The first, limit the Hawks to fewer than 24 points. The Iron Horses held a shutout through the first half and then six minutes into the third quarter.
Philip Simmons has only allowed one score, just seven points, in the first half of any game this season, holding three of four opponents scoreless through the first two quarters.
The second goal, force two or more turnovers. The Iron Horses might’ve fallen short, forcing just one, but the impact of that one likely curbed any disappointment.
Philip Simmons junior outside linebacker Will Ramey jumped a short pass from Hanahan quarterback Matt Blakeney on the Hawks’ opening possession and returned it 20 yards to the opposite end zone to lift the Iron Horses ahead 6-0 six minutes into the first quarter.
Ramey struck again five minutes later, pulling in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Woolridge that opened a 12-0 advantage just before the close of the first quarter. Woolridge and Ramey hooked up again in the third quarter, this time on a 50-yard score that opened a 27-6 lead. Woolridge completed nine of 11 attempts, for 108 yards and the two scores and ran for a team-high 90 yards. Five of his completions went to Ramey, who tallied 91 yards receiving, while also logging eight tackles and a pass breakup to go with his interception on defense.
Solly Bess then extended a 19-0 lead Iron Horses with a 3-yard score three minutes into the second quarter. Bess finished with 84 yards on 22 carries.
Hanahan punted away its next four possessions of the opening half following the interception on its opening drive.
Philip Simmons’ third defensive goal was to limit Hanahan to fewer than eight explosive plays — those of 12 yards or more on the ground and 24 yards or more through the air. Hanahan finished with just four, all on the ground.
Both of Hanahan’s offensive touchdowns came were short scores. Blakeney ended the shutout with a 1-yard plunge with six minutes left in the third quarter. Blakeney also threw a 4-yard touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter. Philip Simmons denied Hanahan the two-point conversion, though, maintaining a two-possession, 27-18 lead. Hanahan turned the ball over on possession inside the Iron Horse 40-yard line on its final two drives.
Philip Simmons (1-3) will try to carry the momentum into a road game at undefeated Whale Branch, the eighth-ranked AA team in the state, this week. Hanahan (0-3) will host AA No. 6 Timberland (2-1).
Laurence Manning 21, Porter-Gaud 14
Porter-Gaud was held scoreless in the second half of a 21-14 loss at Laurence Manning on Friday.
The Cyclones and Swampcats traded scores in the first quarter and again in the second to enter halftime knotted even.
Laurence Manning moved ahead early with a 3-yard touchdown run from Nolan Osteen. The extra-point attempt flew errant, though, holding the Swampcats at a 6-0 advantage six minutes into the game.
Porter-Gaud answered three minutes later. Matt Kelly hit Harry Gaddy on 20-yard score that lifted the Cyclones ahead, 7-6, following a successful point-after kick.
Burgess Jordan pushed Laurence Manning on top less than three minutes into the second quarter, throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Roland. The Swampcats added the two-point conversion to take a 14-7 lead with more than nine minutes left in the half.
When Laurence Manning fumbled inside its own 20-yard line late in the opening half, Porter-Gaud cashed in with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Tobias Lafayette that tied the game at 14 with just 18 seconds left before halftime. Kelly finished the night with 173 yards on 13-of-17 passing with the two scores.
Laurence Manning scored the eventual game winner on the opening possession of the second half with a 4-yard score from Osteen.
Porter-Gaud nearly evened the game with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Lafayette in the fourth quarter but was called for holding, negating the score. The Cyclones later recovered a fumble with a minute to play but couldn’t advance with any late gasp.
Porter-Gaud (2-2) will host undefeated Orangeburg Prep (3-0) on Friday, while Laurence Manning (4-0) travels to Ben Lippen (2-2).