GOOSE CREEK Goose Creek extended its winning streak to 26 games with a 48-7 thumping of Conway in a first-round matchup of the Division II-AAAA state playoffs.
The Gators did it the way they have all year – running the football. Goose Creek gained more than 450 yards rushing and put four backs over 100 yards in the game.
Rashard Alston and Rico Blanding gained 106 yards each, most of their yards coming in the second half. Junior tailback Caleb Kinlaw rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, and senior Tramel Terry added 100 yards and two scores.
Defensively, the Gators intercepted three passes and limited the Tigers to less than 200 yards through three quarters.
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“I didn’t think we came out very inspired early on, some of that being the emotional game we had last week with Stratford, but we did execute pretty well and were able to get ahead pretty quickly,” said Goose Creek head coach Chuck Reedy. “It was obvious we were the better team tonight. I’m glad we got it done. At this point, it’s a four-game season and you have to win to keep playing.”
Conway limped into the postseason coming off a loss to rival Carolina Forest in their final regular season game and without the services of star quarterback Mykal Moody.
“They were a good football team and we played well,” Conway coach Chuck Jordan said. “We played hard. We played to the end. They just outmanned us.”
Goose Creek took away all suspense early on, scoring on its third offensive play as Kinlaw raced 37 yards for a touchdown with 10:51 to play in the first quarter.
After Deshawn Evans ended Conway’s first drive with an interception, the Gators added a 40-yard field from Masamitsu Ishibashi with 4:07 left in the first quarter.
Rashard Alston made it 17-0 on the second play of the second quarter with a three-yard run. Minutes later, after an interception by Omar McRae, Kinlaw went 64 yards for a touchdown, upping the lead to 24-0 with 9:42 to play in the first half. McRae added another pick later in the quarter, his eighth of the season.
Conway struck paydirt late in the first half as Sawyer Jordan connected with Kahmil Cooper on a 12-yard pass but Ishibashi ended the half with a 39-yard field goal and a 27-7 halftime lead. The Gators had 308 yards in the first half with Kinlaw totaling 103 yards on the ground. Kinlaw did not play in the second half.
Terry opened the third quarter with a one-yard dive and the Gators led, 34-7, with 8:38 to play in the period, and added another one-yarder with 5:08 remaining to push the lead to 41-7. Backups played the final quarter for the Gators.
GC – Caleb Kinlaw 37 run (Masamitsu Ishibashi kick)
GC – Ishibashi 40 FG
GC – Rashard Alston 3 run (Ishibashi kick)
GC – Kinlaw 64 run (Ishibashi kick)
C – Sawyer Jordan 12 pass to Kahmil Cooper (Ashton McCants kick)
GC – Ishibashi 39 FG
GC – Tramel Terry 1 run (Ishibashi kick)
GC – Terry 1 run (Ishibashi kick)
GC – Rico Blanding 11 run (Ishibashi kick
The Sun News contributed to this story