Penalties costly in Burke County's loss to Thomson

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It was becoming too familiar.

Down 7 points to Thomson in the second half, Burke County needed a successful drive to tie. But it seemed whenever the Bears got close, a penalty set them back.

On the first drive of the second half, the Bears got down to the Thomson 25. But three penalties helped kill any chance.

Later, two more false starts halted a drive. On the next possession, another false start took the Bears out of a third-and-short chance.

Near the end of the game, another penalty pushed a desperate Burke County back.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” Bears coach Eric Parker said. “I’m not taking anything away from Thomson, but every time in the second half we put ourselves in a decent position, we flinched or got an illegal procedure. We’re just not good enough to overcome that now.”

BIG DECISION: Down by a point with less than a minute to play, Aiken drove down to Silver Bluff’s 12-yard line. Facing fourth-and-1, the Hornets were a 29-yard field goal away from winning their season opener. But head coach Carey Johnson elected to go for the first down and junior quarterback Will Heggs was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Silver Bluff won the game 14-13, and Johnson was left to explain his reasoning for passing up a potential game-winning field goal. Part of the reasoning centered around the inexperience of sophomore kicker Jacob Norton, who had already missed a crucial extra point earlier in the fourth quarter.

“Especially a young kid like that who hasn’t been tested like that before, that’s a pretty tough situation to put him in,” Johnson said.

The Hornets fell to Silver Bluff by a point for the second year in a row.

OFFENSIVE: When West­minster drove 67 yards in nine plays for a touchdown on its opening drive against Curtis Baptist, the Wildcats looked like they were going to run all over the Crusaders.

But Curtis Baptist’s defense, combined with several Westminster errors, prevented the Wildcats from scoring again.

Westminster drove into Curtis Baptist territory on all nine of its drives. The Wildcats drove inside the red zone four times, settling for just their opening touchdown. One red-zone drive stalled at the 16 after a sweep went for minus-five yards on second down from the 11. Another red-zone drive stalled with a fumble at the 2-yard line. The final drive stalled because of the end of the game.

“We’ve got some kinks to work out,” Westminster coach Andrew Bryan said. “There’s still a lot we have to work on, obviously.”

Staff writers Billy Byler and Chris Gay contributed to this story.

WEEKLY LEADERS

PLAYER, SCHOOL YARDS RESULT

Rushing

Chris Jordan, Thomson 165 W 21-14 Burke County

Passing

Buck Robinson, Washington-Wilkes 251 W 48-0 Calhoun Falls

Receiving

Brandon Gladney, Fox Creek 106 L 42-27 McCormick


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