GOOSE CREEK — Watching defense turn into offense was more than satisfying for Wando head football coach Jimmy Noonan.
He can preach all week how important it is for the two sides of the ball to work together. But when it happens Friday night in a 15-7 region win against Stratford, the sermon tells itself.
“That was the turning point of the game,” Noonan said about Jake Fetchen's fumble recovery midway through the third quarter.
Wando improved to 4-2 and 1-1 in Region 7-AAAAA, while Stratford is 3-3 and 1-1.
At the time of Fetchen's recovery, Stratford was winning 7-2 and driving the ball downfield hoping to extend the lead. But Fetchen, a senior middle linebacker, was able to steal the momentum and give the Warrior offense another chance to score.
“He's a leader on this team and was obviously a big part of our win tonight,” Noonan added.
The Warriors had struggled to put points up all night, with their only score coming off of a defensive safety. But after the third quarter fumble recovery, quarterback Braden Pritchard connected with Maken Glover on a deep pass to find the end zone.
The score gave the Warriors an 8-7 lead. And after the Knights failed to answer, Wando drove downfield again and punched it in for another score on a 1-yard touchdown run.
“We didn't play particularly well, but we'll take this win and try to improve,” Noonan said.
Stratford head coach Dennie McDaniel gave plenty of credit to the Warrior defense. At the same time, he said his team has to figure out ways to overcome good defenses if they hope to keep their playoff window open.
McDaniel added that he saw some good things from his squad. Freshman cornerback Jakai Robinson kept his team in the game via two interceptions in the first quarter. The first one resulted in a Stratford punt. But the second one ended with quarterback Josh Davis finding Javion Taylor for a touchdown.
“We had some solid plays, but we have to take this loss and come back next week with a renewed focus,” he said.
The Knights will look to get back on track next week when they travel to Cane Bay. Wando will search for their second region win at home against Goose Creek.
Ashley Ridge 23, West Ashley 21
Troy Grant scored three touchdowns as Ashley Ridge (3-4, 1-1) held on for a 23-21 win over West Ashley (1-6, 0-2) in Region 8-AAAAA.
Grant scored on runs of five and nine yards, and caught a 28-yard TD pass from Matthew Duncan. William McCune added a 32-yard field goal. Duncan was 9 of 12 for 152 yards, and Grant ran for 197 yards on 25 carries. Tyler Collins and Jarren Strickland picked off passes for Ashley Ridge.
West Ashley's Connor Black threw TD passes of 17 and 6 yards to Jaden Washington.
Bishop England 33, Waccamaw 17
Quarterback Cam Costa ran for a touchdown and threw for another as Bishop England (5-2, 2-0) defeated Waccamaw (5-2, 1-1) by 33-17 in a key Region 7-AAA game.
Costa opened the scoring for Bishop England with a 1-yard rushing touchdown. He later connected with Sullivan Clair for a 12-yard passing touchdown. Michael Long punched in a 2-yard run.
Sammy Gress ran back a 30-yard pick-six for Bishop England. BE’s kicker Nick Defazio capped off the scoring with a 23-yard field goal.
Hanahan 44, Academic Magnet 7
Running back Josh Shaw’s three touchdowns led Hanahan (1-5, 1-1) to its first win of the season in a 44-7 victory over Academic Magnet (1-4, 0-2) in Region 7-AAA.
Shaw had 11 rushes for 110 yards. Quarterback Jonathan Shelton led the Hawks with 16 rushes for 133 yards and threw a 15-yard TD pass. Breton Green added a 33-yard touchdown run. Archer Cooper also found the end zone running the ball on two tries for a total of 42 yards.
Branchville 24, Cross 22
Quarterback DeAndre Brown kept the game close for Cross (3-4, 0-2), but the Trojans came up just short in a 24-22 loss to Branchville (7-1) in Region 5-AA.
Brown ran for 84 yards on 8 carries, and threw for 68 yards on just five, all to Xavier Gattis.
Oceanside 42, Burke 0
Keegan Williams ran for three touchdowns to lead the Oceanside Landsharks (7-0, 2-0) to a 42-0 victory over the Burke Bulldogs (1-7, 0-1) in Region 6-AA.
Williams scored on runs of 44, 36, and 20 yards. Quarterback Sean Cooney had two touchdown passes, one to Walker Rhue and one to Sam Bolyston. Running back Henry Dew added a 4-yard TD.
First Baptist 68, Pinewood Prep 13
Davian Brown ran the ball 16 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns to lead First Baptist (6-2) to a 68-13 win over Pinewood Prep (0-7).
Quarterback Will Daniel was 13-27 for 193 yards passing and two touchdown throws, as well as a 13-yard touchdown run. QB Myron Wigfall of Pinewood Prep threw for 108 yards and two touchdown passes, including a 70-yard pass, as well as an interception.
Lucas Snow had 55 yards and two touchdowns receiving for First Baptist, while Sincere Brown had 84 yards and one touchdown in the air. Jamar Blandin made 9 tackles, 2 for a loss, and 2 assists. Patrick Roberts carried 16 times for 68 yards.
Palmetto Christian 30, Holly Hill Academy 8
Connor Rourk ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns to lead Palmetto Christian (4-2) to a 30-8 win over Holly Hill Academy.
Rourk also hit 8 of 12 passes for 95 yards, and Kendal Chakeris ran for a score. Tyler Fragola caught three balls for 37 yards. On defense, Carson Rourk had 14 tackles, one for a safety, while Colson Gunn had nine tackles, a sack and an interception. Ethan Lower made nine tackles and forced two fumbles.
Cane Bay 27, James Island 24
Cane Bay's Makai Francis threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Pruitt as the Cobras (4-3, 1-1) won a Region 7-AAAAA matchup with James Island (2-4, 0-2).
Cane Bay kicked a field goal with 16 seconds for the final margin. James Island's Gunnar Nistad threw for three touchdowns, two to Jaden Scott and one to Terio McKelvey.