JOHNSTON, S.C. – In a battle of running offenses trying to get outside, it was Strom Thurmond quarterback Jauveer Hammond working inside that proved crucial.
The Rebels used an effective backfield mix to run past Silver Bluff 31-15 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Hammond engineered the spread offense well, running for 116 yards and passing for 92. He ran for two touchdowns on keepers in the first half to give Strom Thurmond a 17-point lead at halftime.
“I read it and did what I had to do,” Hammond said. “We still have some things to work on, but we did good for the first game.”
Strom Thurmond’s Chad Gilchrist provided the bruising runs inside for 89 yards and one touchdown. Delonte Bates added to Hammond’s speed with quick runs of his own, totaling 85 yards and a score.
The Rebels put up 324 yards on the ground, largely the trio of Hammond, Gilchrist and Bates.
“It’s a combination I’m glad I don’t have to defend,” Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer said.
Strom Thurmond led 17-0 at halftime and pulled away with a touchdown from Gilchrist midway through the third quarter.
Silver Bluff’s McKenzie Wilson caught a 23-yard pass from Jaylen Lawrence for a touchdown late in the quarter to bring the Bulldogs to within 17.
But Bates ran in from 2 yards to open the fourth quarter and give the Rebels breathing room again. The Bulldogs scored with a minute remaining on a RJ Stallings 15-yard run to cap the scoring.
Shaquez Wright had 102 yards on 17 carries to lead Silver Bluff.
“We settled down a little in the second half,” Sawyer said. “Defensively, Silver Bluff had a good game plan. They kept us off-balance some and took advantage of some mistakes. Thankfully, we were able to overcome them.”