The Conway football team picked a good time to put it all together.
Quarterback Peyton Derrick passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns and the Tigers’ defense stifled West Florence en route to a 48-14 win in both teams’ Region VI-5A opener Friday night.
“We just played well on both sides of the ball and that’s something that we haven’t been doing,” Conway coach Chuck Jordan said. “We had played well one way or the other, but not on both sides. We finally did that and put a complete game together and that was encouraging.”
Derrick passed for 190 yards and his two touchdowns in the first half alone. One was an 85-yarder to Darren Stanley after the Knights were whistled for pass interference. Stanley finished the game with four catches for 147 yards and two scores.
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The other Derrick touchdown pass, after a Knights turnover, was a 30-yarder to Juwan Moody that gave the Tigers a 17-0 lead.
“(Derrick) is going to Appalachian State for a reason,” West Florence coach Trey Woodberry said. “He’s a good quarterback, he does so many things well. He reads the (run-pass-option) so well. He’s very athletic with an unbelievable arm. He’s one of the better quarterbacks we’ve played against this year and one of the better quarterbacks I’ve coached against in my career.”
In the second quarter, West Florence took advantage of a Conway personal foul on fourth down to not only continue its drive but score on a 30-yard run by Mike Lowery on a late pitch from Ryan Roberts to narrow the deficit to 17-7 in the second quarter.
Late in the second quarter, Conway turned it over on downs at the Knights’ 35. West Florence, in turn, attempted two passes that fell incomplete, and gained 6 yards on a Lowery run and had to punt. That gave Conway one more chance to score with roughly a minute left before halftime.
At the Conway 41 with 21 seconds left, Derrick completed a 19-yard pass to Willie Brantley. Then, with seven seconds left, Derrick threw a screen to backup quarterback Darren Grainger, who then tossed it 40 yards to Stanley as the horn sounded for a TD and 24-7 advantage.
“We had some timeouts, and we were able to use those timeouts,” Jordan said. “I really think that touchdown sends (West Florence) into the locker room in a bad frame of mind, and so I think it was a good touchdown for us. It was unexpected, and those unexpected ones are good.”
After a 13-yard TD run by Deandre Huggins gave Conway a 31-7 advantage, a fumble recovery by the Knights’ Quran Forte set up a 1-yard score by Mike Lowery, and it was 31-14.
Huggins, who finished with 94 yards rushing, added two more touchdown runs and the Tigers never looked back.
All in all, Conway is now 1-0 in the play that matters the most.
“I think it’s important in region to get every one of them you can and certainly to get the first one is always a good thing,” Jordan said. “You don’t have to play from behind. We know it’s going to be a long haul, so it’s good to get a win, no doubt about it.”
Next up for the Tigers is Socastee, which lost 35-14 to Carolina Forest on Friday.
“We’re at a point where we’ve just got to focus on Conway and make sure we do everything we should because Socastee – we’ve always had a good rivalry with those guys – and we’ve just got to make sure we’re ready to play because they’re going to get after us,” Jordan said.
C – Will Smith 34-yard FG, 7:54
C – Darren Stanley 85 pass from Peyton Derrick (Smith kick), 3:03
C -- Juwan Moody 30 pass from Derrick (Smith kick), 1:09
WF – Michael Lowery 30 run (Michael Hayes kick), 11:21
C – Stanley 40 pass from Darren Grainger (Smith kick), :00
C -- Deandre Huggins 13 run (Smith kick), 7:21
WF – Mike Lowery 1 run (Hayes kick), 4:03
C – Smith 25 FG, 1:46
C – Huggins 5 run (Smith kick), :01
C – Huggins 30 run (Smith kick), 10:59
Rushing: C: Derrick 7-37, Huggins 11-94, Antonio Long 6-54, Darren Stanley 1-2, Darren Grainger 3-6, Tyrek Weaver 2-31, Rakim Bellamy 2-9. WF: Mike Lowery 11-62, Markus Melvin 3-11, Ryan Roberts 6-(-1), Vick Johnson 1-6, Ailym Ford 7-12, Cooper Wallace 1-(-12), Talik Page-Smith 2-12.
Passing: C: Derrick 14-23-0-248, Darren Grainger 1-1-0-40. WF: Ryan Roberts 3-11-2-8, Cooper Wallace 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: C: Malachi Miller 1-11, Tyrek Weaver 2-37, Darren Stanley 4-147, Darren Grainger 2-5, Willie Brantley 1-19, Juwan Moody 2-31, Deandre Huggins 1-10, Rakim Bellamy 1-7, Antonio Long 1-21. WF: Lowery 1-(-2), Johnson 1-1, Drake Deal 1-9.
The Sun News staff contributed to this report