Class 4A Playoffs: Tigers, Panthers fall in first round

confoot-17Conway’s three-year wait to return to the Class 4A Division II playoffs didn’t last very long as Westwood rolled past the Tigers 27-13 on Friday night in The Backyard.

Westwood running back Andrew Plante rushed for three touchdowns, backfield mate Rudy Mitchell ran for more than 200 yards and two TDs, and the powerful Red Hawks offensive line overpowered Conway in the trenches in a contrast of offensive styles.

Conway quarterback Peyton Derrick threw two long touchdown passes – an 80-yarder to Darren Stanley and a 35-yarder to Juwon Moody – but the Tigers were unable to move the ball on the ground with the consistency of the Red Hawks’ attack.

Mitchell capped a long march for Westwood to draw first blood but Conway tied it up on Derrick’s bomb to Stanley. Plant did the honors on the Hawks’ second TD but Conway held off a late scare before the half to keep the deficit at 14-7.

Conway cut it it one on Derrick’s TD connection with Moody, but Westwood made a pair of impressive drives to start the second half, both capped by Plante TD runs. Mitchell’s second TD slammed the door on the Tigers’ comeback hopes.

After missing the playoffs the past two seasons with back-to-back 2-9 campaigns, the Tigers (9-3) made a strong turnaround this season but struggled in their biggest games. Conway’s three losses came by a combined score of 142-53.

* Goose Creek 39, Carolina Forest 27: The Panthers ended their turnaround season in the first round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs in similar fashion to way they played during the regular season – with a surprisingly strong showing.

The Panthers pushed the third-seeded team in the state to the limit before succumbing in the fourth quarter to the Gators, who trailed 14-12 at halftime. But Evans Ullery ran for three touchdowns to pull away from Carolina Forest late.

After Ullery drew first blood for the Gators, Carolina Forest’s Dyverse Simmons answered with a 45-yard touchdown run. Simmons added a 15-yard TD jaunt to give the Panthers a 14-12 halftime lead over host Goose Creek.

But the Gators scored three unanswered touchdowns to open the second half and take a 31-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Carolina Forest quarterback Matt Beale connected with Jason Craft for a pair of TD passes but it was too little too late.

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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