MCCORMICK, S.C. - An impending thunderstorm could have made things worse for McCormick in its season opener on Saturday night.
Buford was dominating the Chiefs on offense and defense. McCormick quarterback Jarvis Adams had problems with his helmet. The sprinklers had turned on in the middle of the game.
With the rains, though, came relaxation for the Chiefs. And with that came success.
McCormick overcame a ghastly performance for most of the first half, and senior wide receiver/defensive back Thaddeus Creswell scored offensive and defensive touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 19-6 victory against the Yellow Jackets at Dorn Stadium.
Adams loved Creswell's breakout performance, but the senior quarterback said the 37-minute rain delay in the middle of the first quarter played a huge role in the win, too.
"We were overconfident," Adams said. "We thought we could just come out here and take this game. But we talked about it (in the locker room during the delay). Then we started working together."
A smaller, faster Buford squad dominated the Chiefs through the first 16 minutes of the game - the Jackets' only score came on a 24-yard scamper from Alvin Stewart (nine carries, 60 yards) - but McCormick did its damage in the last 3:40 of the half.
Stifled for most of the first two periods, running backs Jonta Sibert and Colby Johnson made headway in the half's last series.
Using the quicker Johnson on sweeps to the outside - which forced the Jackets' defense to make adjustments and open the middle of the field for the powerful Sibert - McCormick went on a five-play, 76-yard drive that took 2:21 off the clock.
Adams and Creswell capped the series with a 41-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 6-6.
"We kept it simple," said first-year McCormick coach Charlie Combs. "That was our game plan. Buford's first drive of the game scared me to death. But everything ended up working out for us."
Especially the last play of the first half.
Buford had second-and-10 from the McCormick 10 when Creswell picked off a pass and returned the ball untouched for a 98-yard touchdown as the clock expired.
"It was the team; they had me all hyped up," Creswell said. "It was all because of the energy of the team."
Or, depending on who you ask, it was all because of the rain.
"They got up on us early," Combs said. "But our team responded. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong early in the game. But we prevailed."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org