MONCKS CORNER - Berkeley High School running back Keshawn Wicks set the tone on his first carry of the game Friday night.
On his first rushing attempt of the night, Wicks gained 25 yards and he wasn't done yet.
Wicks, a senior, never stopped producing, going for 91 yards on his first three attempts and eventually finishing with 262 yards and three touchdowns to power the Stags past visiting River Bluff High School, 32-14, in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs Friday.
“He’s a tough dude,” Berkeley coach Randy Robinson said. “We give it to him a lot for a reason. There’s a reason Old Dominion jumped all over him. He’s a great back with great vision. If people want to take our passing game away and they’re playing six over four, he’s got to win.”
Wicks' touchdown runs covered 4, 6 and 8 yards, giving him six TDs during the postseason in just two games. He had three touchdowns and over 120 yards against Irmo High School in the opening round.
“Keshawn is going to get his yards,” Robinson said. “Our guys up front do a good job, get some push. He makes some good reads and cuts.”
The Stags (11-1) host Summerville (10-2) in the third round next Friday night. Their first encounter this fall was one for the ages. Berkeley squandered a sizable advantage, but scored in the final minute to down the Green Wave, 34-30, in Summerville.
It will match the Region 7-AAAAA champion against the Region 8-AAAAA champion, with the winner going to the Lower State finals.
“That was a classic game,” Robinson said. “We’re up 17-0 and driving to score more. Four flags later, they’re returning a punt for a touchdown and the whole game changed. Fortunately, we were able to get a drive late to win the game.”
Summerville, which has won seven in a row, did its part to set the table for the Lowcountry clash, blasting Carolina Forest 45-13 on Friday in the second round.
“Berkeley-Summerville, that’s all you’ve got to say,” Robinson said. “Traditionally, that’s the two biggest programs down here. Joe (Call) has his guys playing great. I think our guys are playing pretty well.”
River Bluff took the opening kickoff and marched 71 yards to score on a 9-yard pass from Jackson Stone to Austin Murton.
It didn’t take long for Berkeley to answer. Twenty-seven seconds later, speedster DJ Chisolm caught a swing pass in the right flat from quarterback Eric Tuttle, broke a tackle, reversed field, to score on a 58-yard touchdown reception.
Chisolm finished with 113 yards on five catches.
“That was big to get it back even,” Robinson said. “They had a lot of momentum. Give their coaches credit. They had some guys banged up but they came down here and competed.”
Berkeley moved it well on ensuing drives but came up empty on three straight trips inside the Gators 30. The Stags turned it over on downs twice and Simmons pulled a 29-yarder in between.
After a short River Bluff punt, the Stags used a 41-yard drive right before the half to go up 13-7 on Wicks’ 4-yard run with 1:45 left.
Berkeley had a shot to add to its lead on the final play of the half but a 34-yard field goal was off the mark.
Wicks rumbled 34 yards to the Gators 6 and made it a 19-7 lead with a touchdown run from there with 8:42 left in the third quarter.
River Bluff drove to Berkeley’s 25 and had the right call on a fourth-and-4, but an open receiver couldn’t haul in a play-action pass from Stone.
The Stags went to right to work, taking control with a 75-yard drive. A 29-yard pass from Tuttle to Chisolm set up Tuttle’s 3-yard TD run with 2:25 remaining in the third that extended the Stags’ lead to 25-7.
River Bluff didn’t quit and pulled to within 25-14 on a 46-yard scoring strike from Stone to Tyson Trottier on a fourth-and-8 in the fourth quarter.
River Bluff got it back down 11 but started a drive from its own 4 and ultimately punted it back to the Stags, who put the game out of reach on Wicks’ 8-yard run with 2:32 left in the game.