High School Football

Scott's Branch Eagles fly past St. James

Scott's Branch is a little school that plays some big-time football.

The Class AAA St. James Sharks found out first hand the Class A, Division II Eagles have plenty of talent in a 62-28 loss on Friday night.

Running back Traven Parker, an explosive 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior, scored five touchdowns - three via the run, one by pass and one on an 80-yard kickoff return - to lead the Eagles (3-2). Scott's Branch did not have a letdown after beating three-time defending Class A Division I champion Chesterfield last week.

The Eagles, from Summerton in Clarendon County, rolled up 390 yards rushing on just 30 carries, including 178 on five carries by Parker.

Scott's Branch coach Leonard Johnson shrugged off his team's accomplishments, which include a state championship in 2008 and a runner-up finish in 2009.

"We run a system and our guys are good at what we do," said Johnson. "We just plug kids into the system and we go with it."

St. James coach Billy Hurston was a little more complimentary of the Eagles' talent, which includes major college prospect QB/DE Jerrell Adams.

"We knew coming in how good they were," said Hurston. "They're one of the best football teams I've ever coached against. We knew we had our hands full. I told our kids before the game, 'Your manhood's going to be challenged.' The only way we're going to stop them is to keep the ball."

The Sharks (0-5) showed some promise in their passing game behind quarterbacks Chase Smith and Carl Buddin, who combined to throw for 196 yards and all four St. James touchdowns.

"I was pleased with what we did offensively," said Hurston. "We scored four touchdowns against a very good team."

The Eagles quickly got on the board after holding St. James on 4th-and-1 and taking over at the Sharks' 35-yard line on the opening series. On Scott's Branch's second play from scrimmage, Parker burst up the middle for a 21-yard touchdown sprint. Adams tallied the two-point conversion on a keeper to give the Eagles a quick 8-0 lead with 8:56 still left in the first quarter.

Scott's Branch scored on their next possession with a quick 7-play, 71-yard drive capped by Everett Rendell's 1-yard plunge with 2:34 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.

The Sharks bounced back behind the passing and running of Smith with a 6-play, 65-yard drive capped by a 16-yard pass from Smith to Carl Buddin to cut the lead to 14-7.

But on the first play of the second quarter, Parker struck again, breaking loose down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown with 11:48 left in the first half. Rendell ran for the two-point conversion and a 22-7 Eagles lead.

Moments later, after a fake St. James punt failed, Parker was in the end zone again with a 34-yard run and Scott's Branch suddenly held a 28-7 lead with 8:24 left in the half.

The Sharks again bounced back with Garrett Denson scampering 79 yards with the ensuing kickoff before Smith hit Caleb Duggan for a 12-yard touchdown on a fade, trimming the lead to 28-13 at the 8:04 mark.

From there, Scott's Branch dominated the rest of the half, scoring two unanswered touchdowns on runs of 14 yards by Johnny Williams and 35 yards by Rendell to grab a 40-13 halftime lead.

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