Red Raiders pull away from Warhorses
For the previous top-ranked Barnwell High Warhorses, the formula for victory was all too familiar.
Big splash plays, a potent ground game and playing stout defense. It was Warhorse football that the hometown faithful have grown accustomed to seeing this season.
Unfortunately on Friday night at W.W. Carter Field, it wasn’t the Warhorses using that formula to perfection. It was the Red Raiders.
A Bamberg-Ehrhardt High team that had beaten Barnwell High in the past five meetings, continued its dominance in the rivalry with a 21-0 victory.
The teams played to a scoreless first half. However, in the second half, the Red Raiders erupted for three touchdowns to secure their second straight region crown.
Defensively, the Red Raiders were more resilient as they forced three turnovers while the Warhorses were held to zero takeaways on the night.
With the loss, Barnwell High drops to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in region. The Warhorses need to beat Silver Bluff High Friday night to finish second in the region.
Barnwell High coach Dwayne Garrick said Bamberg-Ehrhardt made the plays when the game was on the line.
“In close games you have to make plays. They were able to make plays tonight and that was the difference in the game,” Garrick said.
Offensively, the Warhorses had a nightmarish night, finishing with a season-low 105 yards.
It seemed like each time the Warhorse offense was in position to get going, something went wrong, whether it was dropped passes, penalties or turnovers.
The Red Raiders defense had a lot to do with the Warhorses’ inconsistency on offense. They held a Warhorse backfield duo of Brandon Harvey and Mykal Lee - who had been averaging more than 200 yards a game - to just 75 yards on the ground.
“Offensively, we weren’t able to move the ball with any consistency. We had only two first downs in the first half and we struggled to block them all night,” Garrick said.
After a scoreless first half, the Red Raiders’ defense put their offense in good field position thanks to an interception by Jerrald Manigualt. Manigualt’s 22-yard return gave the Red Raiders a first down at the Warhorse 37-yard line.
From there it took six plays for the Red Raiders to exchange the turnover into the first points of game. On fourth and goal, quarterback A.J. Williams found a crease on the left side and knifed his way into the end zone. Hunter Bridges added the point after.
Leading 7-0 early in the fourth quarter, the ball continued to bounce in favor of the Red Raiders.
Faced with a fourth down and five at the Warhorses 42-yard line, the Red Raiders decided to go for the first down.
The team, however, didn’t have to run a play as an offside penalty called against the Warhorses gave the Raiders a new set of downs.
The mistake by the Warhorses proved costly. Three plays later, Williams hooked up with Kesean Brown for a 28-yard gain to the two-yard line. Two plays later, Williams scored again. Kinard’s point after made the score 14-0.
Moments later after an interception by Williams, Reece Zeigler finished off the Warhorses late with a 50-yard touchdown reception.
“We played pretty good defensively until the fourth quarter when we had a couple of breakdowns that allowed scores,” Garrick said.
Garrick said it’s important for the team to respond well after a tough loss.
“This is not the time to start feeling sorry for ourselves. We just got beaten by a good football team tonight, but that was just one game,” Garrick said. “A lot of teams would like to be 8-1 now. Our next challenge is Silver Bluff so we’re gonna find out what we’re made of as a team.”