SOCASTEE — The Socastee football team made quick work of Hilton Head Friday in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs – as was expected.
Delano Walters had 139 yards on 15 carries in the first half, and finished with 270 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns, as he ran all over the Hilton Head defense. Kyle Smith rushed 11 times for 60 yards, and the Braves defeated the Seahawks 31-6 to remain undefeated Friday night.
“I thought Delano had a tremendous night,” Socastee coach Doug Illing said. “[He] had to carry the load for us tonight. They had some very athletic lineman to block and for the most part I thought we wore them out. I thought we did real good, I’m real proud”
Quarterback Hunter Renfrow left the game with an apparent leg injury and was replaced by back-up Jordan Hodge. Renfrow was 1-for-6 passing for 5 yards and had 52 rushing yards on seven carries.
“He banged up his ankle. Nobody on the team panicked,” Walters said. “The coaches didn’t panic. We just put Jordan Hodge in and he was ready to go. He executed and he was ready to go; I couldn’t ask for a better back-up quarterback.”
Hodge came in for Renfrow in the second half and completed 4-of-7 passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Renfrow is considered day-to-day, but Illing is optimistic he’ll be ready to go for the second round.
“He got a little banged up on his leg,” he said. “We’ll see how it is tonight and this weekend. I’m sure he’ll be all right.”
Socastee linebacker Jiovany Rendon made an impact as he intercepted a Ben Olliff pass on the Hilton Head 5-yard line, and Walters ran for a 5-yard touchdown – his second of the game – as Socastee took a 14-0 lead with 3:51 left in the first quarter.
Matt Trimby kicked a 35-yard field goal and Buck Bacot found the end zone on a 4-yard rush as the Braves went to the locker room with a 24-6 lead.
“We just got back on track,” Walters said. “The last two weeks we were a little unfocused and tonight we were focused. We had to get the job done and we did.”
Neither team could find the end zone in the second half, until a couple of big plays by Socastee. Kris Simmons intercepted an Olliff pass, and Walters scampered 67 yards down to the Hilton Head 10-yard line. After a 6-yard rush by Kyle Smith and a delay of game penalty, Finn Melko caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Hodge as Socastee took a 31-6 lead.
“I saw a strong team,” Walters said of Hilton Head. “I know they had the ability to beat us. Our center was out with a concussion. Our backup came in and did well. As a team, we faced adversity and we did well.”
Last year, Socastee’s undefeated season came to and end at the hands of Hartsville. Now, the Braves can get revenge Friday when they host the defending Class AAA Champions.
“Of course we’re not thinking about last year because that’s last year. But we have that in mind and we know what we have to do. We’ll just practice and get ready and just focus on continuing our perfect season.”
Illing isn’t sure what to anticipate in the match up with Hartsville.
“I don’t know what to expect. Last year that team graduated 33 seniors; so they have a brand new team this year,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to be tough. We have to take them one at a time – it doesn’t matter who we play – if we play tough and don’t turn it over, we should be OK. But it’s going to be a tough game whoever we play next week.”
SOC – Delano Walters 33 run (Matt Trimby kick), 9:11
SOC – Walters 5 run (Trimby kick), 3:51
SOC – Trimby 35 field goal, 9:27
HH – Aaron Frazier 57 pass from Ben Olliff (run failed), 6:39
SOC – Buck Bacot 4 run (Trimby kick), 3:22
SOC – Finn Melko 9 pass from Jordan Hodge (Trimby kick), 3:49
RUSHING—Hilton Head: N/A. Socastee: Walters 24-270, Kyle Smith 11-59, Renfrow 7-52, Bacot 2-9, Hodge 4-16.
PASSING—Hilton Head: N/A. Socastee: Renfrow 1-6-0 5 yards, Hodge 4-7-0 46 yards.
RECEIVING—Hilton Head: N/A. Socastee: Stephen Gursky 3-38, Smith 1-4, Melko 1-9.
Contact MAX MCKINNON at 626-0302.