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Blue Ridge denies Greer sole region championship

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Saturday, November 2, 2013

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Greer quarterback Mario Cusano peeks out from under the pile of Blue Ridge defenders.

Julie McCombs

Greer quarterback Mario Cusano peeks out from under the pile of Blue Ridge defenders.



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Emanuel Kelly ignited Greer's third quarter scoring by helping to tackle Ty Montgomery in the end zone for a safety. On the kickoff, Kelly ran 68 yards for a touchdown.

Julie McCombs

Emanuel Kelly ignited Greer's third quarter scoring by helping to tackle Ty Montgomery in the end zone for a safety. On the kickoff, Kelly ran 68 yards for a touchdown.



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Bradley Styles (58), Emanuel Kelly (top, center) and Ty Campbell (69) smother Blue Ridge running back Melvin Smith.

Bradley Styles (58), Emanuel Kelly (top, center) and Ty Campbell (69) smother Blue Ridge running back Melvin Smith.



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Marquis Lyles, left, and Tyler Wright made a sandwich with a Blue Ridge player in the middle.

Julie McCombs

Marquis Lyles, left, and Tyler Wright made a sandwich with a Blue Ridge player in the middle.



Blue Ridge benefitted from a strategic move that backfired on Greer Friday night that earned the Tigers a one-third share of the Region II-AAA championship.

While the win was satisfying for Blue Ridge to beat its rival 10-9 and deny No. 8 ranked Greer the outright region championship, the Tigers find themselves as the third seed in the first round of the state playoffs beginning next week but must play on the road at Belton-Honea Path.

Greer earned the No. 1 seed, using the South Carolina High School League tiebreaker points system, and with it home field advantage through the first four games. The Yellow Jackets play Emerald next Friday at Dooley Field.

Greer Head Coach Will Young had seen his team record a safety and a 48-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Emanuel Kelly on consecutive plays with 9:20 left in the third quarter for a 9-3 lead.

Kelly overpowered Blue Ridge players on his kickoff return. He shook off a couple of tacklers and pulled away while his jersey was being stretched during the run. The last 30 yards was all about speed. “He’s just a demon out there,” said linebacker Tyler Wright.

Nate Roberson kicked a 28-yard field goal that temporarily gave Greer a 12-3 lead and more importantly meant Blue Ridge would need two scoring possessions to win the game.

A personal foul against Blue Ridge convinced Young to take the points off the board and set a new series of downs. Quez Nesbitt was held to a one-yard gain on first down and stopped at the line of scrimmage on second down. Quarterback Mario Cusano’s 11-yard gain was wiped out by an illegal procedure penalty. Roberson was called on to get the three points back but his kick was off the mark and Greer came away empty-handed.

“At the time I wanted to keep our offense out there a little more,” Young said. “Taking points off the board . . . I won’t forget that for a long time.”

Blue Ridge quarterback Ty Montgomery proceeded to march Blue Ridge on an 80-yard scoring drive that ended with him connecting with Brian Garrett on a 3-yard TD pass. Jon Michael Bright’s PAT gave Blue Ridge the win.

“We challenged the players and they met it,” said Shane Clark, first year Blue Ridge coach.”

Blue Ridge was determined to make Nesbitt’s life miserable and did, holding Greer’s most prolific rusher to a season-low 79 yards on 17 carries for a 4.6 yard average. Nesbitt, who missed last week’s game because of a deep thigh bruise, was averaging over 10 yards a carry coming into he game. He reeled off some double digit runs but penalties kept the Yellow Jackets in check.

“Offensively they didn’t play well,” Young said of his team. “They couldn’t get in sync running the ball or throwing the ball.” Greer totaled 175 yards on offense on 41 plays – it’s lowest output of the year.

“We did a lot of stupid things,” Young said. “We played hard but we didn’t play well. Give some credit on the other side.”

Greer players voiced their disappointment. “If we haven’t made so many mistakes,” Dorian Lindsey, wide receiver, said. “The penalties killed us and stopped our momentum.”

“Every loss is tough, especially in this game,” said linebacker Tyler Wright. “We’ve got to move on.”

Senior defensive lineman Ty Campbell said he was surprised how few points were manufactured. “I thought we would score more. We’re still in the playoffs and we’ve got to stay focused.”

Cole Henderson said Blue Ridge offered a different look on defense that what was practiced. “We weren’t expecting what they did on defense,” Henderson said.  “We wanted to win badly because this is a rivalry. The atmosphere was great.”

 

 

 

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