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Rebels ready to clinch region crown

  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to JCST Thomas Heyward continues to enjoy a successful season. The Rebels beat Palmetto Christian XX-XX Friday for their sixth straight win.
  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to JCST Bobby Payne of Thomas Heyward has helped the Rebels to a 7-2 record and first place in SCISA Region 2-A.

Thomas Heyward continues to look like a SCISA Class A state-title contender.

Led by two J.R. Patterson touchdown runs and two Logan Thomas touchdown passes, the visiting Rebels beat Palmetto Christian 49-12 last Friday night.

THA (7-2, 3-0 Region 2-A) has won six straight games.

The Rebels can clinch the region crown this Friday when they visit Colleton Prep (3-5, 1-1).

Thomas Heyward took control early against Palmetto Christian (0-8, 0-2). Logan Thomas tossed a 19-yard scoring pass to Chipper Hammond for a 6-0 lead. Patterson then ran for a 1-yard TD. Thomas hit Joseph Gibson for the 2-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.

River Pender had a 33-yard touchdown run and Jake Masters tossed a 2-point conversion pass to Zack Black for a 22-0 second-quarter lead. Patterson (195 rushing yards) added a 66-yard run to the 4-yard line. He then scored a 4-yard touchdown and Zach Bond converted the conversion for a 30-0 lead.

Palmetto Christian scored on a 71-yard touchdown pass, but with 25 seconds remaining in the half, Thomas (10-14, 163 yards) threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Black for a 36-6 lead.

In the third quarter, C.J. Cleland returned an interception for a touchdown and a 42-6 lead. John Clark Tilton’s 24-yard score pushed the lead to 49-6.

Timber Hexamer had two sacks and Masters had an interception.

THA fell to 1-2 after a Sept. 1 loss to St. Andrew’s, but since then THA has outscored opponents 267-85 during the winning streak.

Shuford thinks the offense can be even better.

“We still have a lot of room for improvement,” he said before Friday’s game. “We are not making all the plays that we can make. There are a couple of holes not hit, passes dropped.”

The offense is paced by quarterback Logan Thomas, who has thrown for 1,166 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also ran for 299 yards and five touchdowns.

Shuford said his quarterback has done a good job protecting the ball.

“His decision making has just gotten better,” Shuford said. “He’s not putting us in bad situations. If nothing’s there, he’s not going to force it.”

On Aug. 18 Ridgeland-Hardeeville High beat Thomas Heyward 12-8, but Jaguars coach Jahmaal Nelson came away impressed with Thomas’ leadership.

“He commands the team,” Nelson said. “He just takes leadership and commands the offense. They play as a unit.”

Nelson also lauds the play of River Pender, who had 77 yards rushing against RHHS and also has four tackles and a fumble recovery. “He gave our line problems,” Nelson said.

Pender’s averaging 78.7 yards rushing per game with 708 yards. He also had 29 tackles, including four for a loss.

THA’s also been led by Patterson’s 1,438 rushing yards and 13 TDs and Jake Masters’ 18 receptions.

Shuford said his team is full of confidence.

“They just get after it,” he said. “When they strap it up their mentality is nobody can beat them.”

The defense is led by the high energy of Zach Bond, who has 101 tackles. He had a season-high 17 tackles against St. Andrew’s and 16 tackles in a win over John Paul II. Against PC, he had seven tackles and a sack.

Shuford said the Rebels feed off of Bond’s excitement.

“He just never stops. He wants to make every play and when you have somebody like that it makes it easier to jump on board and try to top each other,” Shuford said.

The Rebels are rolling and Nelson is one who hopes they continue to thrive. “I support them,” he said. “I want them to do well.”

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