Socastee’s dream season couldn’t keep pace with Hartsville’s.
The Braves’ fell 40-13 to Hartsville at home Friday, ending Socastee’s year at 12-1 and one victory shy of the Lower State finals. It all came down to Hartsville doing what it has all season – utilizing the big play on offense while not allowing them defensively.
The latter equated to Socastee’s high-powered offense failing to produce for the first time this year.
“We ran into a good football team,” Socastee coach Tim Renfrow said. “We didn’t play as well as we played and we turned the ball over. They had a lot to do with that. They’re a good football team, and it just wasn’t our night.”
Hartsville proved exactly why it entered the game with three running backs who had already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. The Red Foxes found huge holes to run through that amounted to gaudy totals. Trey Samuel finished the night with 235 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Tre Rogers had 16 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Dominic Robinson ended with 86 yards on the ground.
It was, Hartsville coach said, a product of that offensive line.
“It was good, and it had to be good, to kind of keep the ball away from Hunter Renfrow and Socastee’s offense,” Calabrese said. “We were very fortunate our offensive line played extremely well, and our backs played hard.”
So, too, did Hartsville’s defense.
The Braves averaged 38 points throughout their first 12 contests. It had made sure the team had won nine straight games by double digits.
Many of those final scores came after Socastee came out swinging.
On Friday, it was Hartsville who had the early pop.
The Red Foxes jumped out to a 27-6 halftime lead, getting some help from a Braves’ offense that turned the ball over twice on fumbles and struggled on first down. Socastee had abused opponents all season to set up short second- and third-down opportunities. It was a different story against Hartsville..
Socastee, which fumbled the ball away on its opening drive, also did so during a second-quarter possession. The Red Foxes took advantage of both, courtesy of Samuel and Rogers They each had a pair of first-half scores, including an 87-yard scamper from Samuel.
He finished the first half with 189 yards on 12 carries, nearly twice as much as the Braves’ first-half offensive tally. It put the Braves in a monster hole that Hartsville made sure got worse.
“I knew Socastee was very game defensively,” Calabrese said. “I thought we played a tough ball game against a very tough Socastee defense.”
It helped push Hartsville to the Class AAA Lower State title game.
It won’t, however, erase everything the Braves have accomplished to this point.
It was the first time Socastee had won a region title in school history. It was also the team’s best start, and the first time the Braves had ever won two playoff games in a single season.
“We’ll find out next year, but I hope it really starts something and gets us going,” Tim Renfrow said. “This is going to sting, but we’ve been building the last two years and I hope this is just another step to be a good football program.”
H–Tre Rogers 15 run (Sam Williamson kick)
S–Tommy Lazaroff 4 run (kick blocked)
H–Rogers 6 run (Williamson kick)
H–Trey Samuel 87 run (Williamson kick)
H–Samuel 27 run (kick failed)
H–Dominic Robinson 37 run (Williamson kick)
H–Rogers 47 run (kick failed)
S–Adam Crane 2 run (Ryan Sutton kick)