GOOSE CREEK -- They call him Virgil "Not So" Smalls at Goose Creek High School. But that description fits most of the Gators' football team.
With 6-7, 290-pound tackle Brandon Shell paving the way, the Gators opened the season by rolling to a 49-28 victory over Class AAAA foe Irmo on Friday night at John Fulmer Field.
Smalls, a 5-11, 260-pound wrecking ball of a fullback, ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Gators. Quarterback Jaquan Marsh also scored twice, and running backs Mike Myers (6-1, 245) and Jerome Jordan (6-2, 200) added 5-yard TD runs as Goose Creek ran up a 35-7 lead by halftime.
Marsh went for 90 yards on seven carries as Goose Creek racked up 378 yards, all on the ground. Jordan totaled 67 yards on 12 carries and Myers added 61 yards on 12 attempts for the Gators, who did not attempt a pass.
"We've got two really big fullbacks and a pretty big offensive line," said coach Chuck Reedy, whose team finished one game shy of the Division II-AAAA state title game last year. "We felt like if we could get our fullbacks pounding up in there, we could wear them down. And we did that a little bit better than I actually anticipated."
Irmo (1-1), coming off a 28-26 victory over Dutch Fork in its opener last week, got 228 yards and four touchdowns on 32 attempts from senior running back Dawan Scott., the successor to Mustafa Greene, now a freshman at North Carolina State.
"Scott is good," said Reedy, who has only three senior starters on defense. "But other than two long runs they had, I felt we played pretty well. They are a good offensive team, with eight starters back. And we're going to get nothing but better on defense, because we have so many young guys."
Irmo shocked the Gators crowd with an opening TD less than four minutes into the game, with the 6-0, 175-pound Scott breaking off a 44-yard scoring scamper for a quick 7-0 lead.
The rest of the half belonged to the Gators.
Goose Creek came right back with a 7-play, 64-yard drive, Smalls running five times for 47 yards and scoring on a 5-yard run to tie it at 7-7.
Then it was Marsh on a 5-yard keeper and Jordan on a 5-yard run, the second TD capitalizing on a Stephan Heyward interception for a 21-7 lead at 8:54 of the second quarter.
The rout was on when Gators linebacker Trevon Bennett blocked a punt, fellow LB Gerald Turner recovering the ball in the end zone for a TD. Marsh capped the half with a neat ball fake on third-and-2, keeping around right end for a 33-yard TD and a 35-7 halftime lead.
Irmo running back Marcus Smith sprinted for 75 yards on the first play of the second half, setting up a 1-yard Scott TD that cut the Gators' lead to 35-14. And after the Gators lost a fumble on fourth down and then were forced to punt on their next possession, Scott capped off a 52-yard drive with a 7-yard TD run on the last play of the third quarter to slice the deficit to 35-21.
Goose Creek tried to ice it when Marsh deked the Irmo defense again, faking a pitch and cutting upfield for a 34-yard dash to the Irmo 1. Smalls scored on the next play for a 42-21 lead with 8:18 to play. But Scott was not done yet, getting loose for 31 yards to set up his own 9-yard TD to make it 42-28 with 5:46 left.
The Gators recovered an onside kick and finally closed it out on Smalls' third TD, a 2-yard run with 2:06 left. Goose Creek is at Cane Bay next week.
Irmo - Dawan Scott 44 run (Ben Hinson kick)
Goose Creek - Virgil Smalls 5 run (Masamitsu Ishibashi kick)
Goose Creek - Jaquan Marsh 5 run (Ishibashi kick)
Goose Creek - Jerome Jordan 5 run (Ishibashi kick)
Goose Creek - Gerald Turner recovers blocked punt in end zone (Ishibashi kick)
GC - Marsh 33 run (Ishibashi kick)
Irmo - Scott 1 run (Hinson kick)
Irmo - Scott 7 run (Hinson kick)
GC - Smalls 1 run (Ishibashi kick)
Irmo - Scott 9 run (Hinson kick)
GC - Smalls 2 run (Ishibashi kick)
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