Patterson (3 TDs) leads Rebels over JP2; THA eyes third straight win Friday against HHC
It’s no surprise to Thomas Heyward coach Nic Shuford that the Rebels have taken early control of the last two games — both victories.
THA scored on the first play from scrimmage in its Sept. 8 win over Bethesda and last Friday the Rebels scored a touchdown on their first possession, en route to a 42-20 win over visiting John Paul II in the team’s SCISA Region 2-A opener.
“It’s their mentality. They come into every game thinking they are going to win,” Shuford said.
The Rebels (3-2, 1-0 region) have won two straight games. The Golden Warriors (3-3, 1-2 region) have dropped two in a row.
THA was paced by freshman J.R. Patterson (307 yards rushing), who ran for three touchdowns, and quarterback Logan Thomas, who added two rushing scores and a TD pass.
“It’s great to make a statement,” Thomas said.
Patterson ignited the offense right from the start. On the game’s first possession he ran 51 yards into John Paul II territory and several plays later he scampered for a 3-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 THA lead.
John Paul’s Zack Doe (139 yards on 17 carries) raced 75 yards on the next possession for a score to tie it 7-7, but then the Rebels seized control, led by a swarming defense that limited the Golden Warriors to a minimum number of big plays.
Led by the play of Zach Bond, Bryce Tillotson, Pablo Orozco, Joseph Gibson, River Pender and Timber Hexamer (fumble recovery), THA forced two turnovers.
“They made plays; they wrapped up and that’s a big deal when you are playing a guy like Zack Doe,” assistant Mike Heath said. “We preach 11 hats to the ball every play.”
Thomas’ 7-yard TD run gave THA a 13-7 lead late in the first quarter.
A Melik Frost interception at the John Paul II 25-yard line ended a Rebels threat, but after Hexamer recovered a fumble at John Paul’s 12 with 7:19 remaining in the half Patterson extended the lead with a 16-yard scoring run. Pender added the 2-point conversion run for a 21-7 halftime lead.
THA went ahead 27-7 in the third quarter on a fourth-and-4 Thomas to Chipper Hammond 36-yard TD pass.
“I thought we did a great job of controlling the game,” Shuford said.
Patterson, who entered the game with 384 yards rushing, showcased his electrifying ability to make defenders miss. On a 7-play, 77-yard drive, Patterson had runs of 4, 16, 7, and 3 yards before scoring on a 1-yard run for a 35-14 lead.
On the next possession he jitterbugged his way for 47 yards to John Paul’s 1-yard line. QB Thomas scored three plays later for a 42-20 lead.
“No play is dead when he’s back there,” Shuford said. “Something can go wrong, but we still have a chance.”
Said Thomas: “It great to have a guy that can do anything. You don’t know what’s going to happen when you hand the ball off, he’s got a lot of great moves.”
Patterson said his only thought when he’s carrying the ball is to be aggressive.
“Just run hard,” he said.
Pender added 109 yards rushing for THA. The running game was spearheaded by linemen Evan Brazil, Therion Cannon, Orozco, John Hewlett, Hexamer and Luke Bond.
Frost had 75 yards on nine carries for John Paul, including a 58-yard touchdown run.
Said John Paul coach Kevin Wald, “We showed some grit out there. Thomas Heyward does two things very well: blocking and tackling. Their experience, strength, depth just took over.”
John Paul II hosts Carolina Academy (2-2) in a non-region contest Friday. Carolina Academy lost 35-20 last week to Robert E. Lee.
Thomas Heyward hosts Class AA Hilton Head Christian (3-1) in a non-region matchup Friday. The Eagles beat Northwood 28-14 last week. They have won three straight games.
Shuford is pleased with his team’s play.
“I like the attitude we are playing with,” Shuford said.