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Greer winds up preseason; it's on to the season opener

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Greer Yellow Jackets ended their preseason tonight on a sweet and sour note.

Woodruff, last year’s 2A state championship runnerup, scored a touchdown with 3.1 seconds left in the second quarter for a 19-14 win over Greer at the Blue Ridge Jamboree. The Wolverines, playing in Class 3A, made the final margin reachable when it scored a touchdown with 1:40 left in the first half with a 24-yard scoring pass.

“We’ll see them again later in the year,” said Brook Chapman, defensive end for the Jackets.

Greer quarterback Josh Gentry engineered two scoring drives in the first quarter to lead the Jackets to a 14-12 lead.

Malek Johnson made a leaping interception of Woodruff’ quarterback Ben Beck’s throw at the 33-yard line with 9:11 left in the first quarter to set up a two-play Greer scoring drive. Quez Nesbitt ran 32 yards on the first play and finished off the drive with a one-yard run. Nick Roberson’s first of two extra point kicks gave the Jackets a 7-0 lead.

“Coach (Mazzie Drummond) tells us to come out and play fast,” Johnson said. “The interception felt good. I heard the crowd and saw it all.” He positioned himself in front of the receiver and timed his leap perfectly to catch the pass at his highest reach.

Woodruff came back with a kickoff return to Greer’s 40-yard line. Two running plays covered the scoring distance and Johnson deflected Taylor Green’s extra point attempt for Greer to remain ahead 7-6.

Johnson had a punt return for a touchdown nullified following a thrilling runback when he dived into the end zone from three yards out at the end of the run. The Jackets were penalized for a block in the back in the second quarter sequence.

Gentry, who earned the starting quarterback position with solid spring and summer performances, only needed one play from scrimmage and 16 seconds to find D’Anta Fleming racing toward the end zone. Gentry lofted the pass along Greer’s sideline with Fleming catching the pass in a full sprint and completed the 63-yard scoring play. Roberson’s kick made it Greer 14-6.

“I feel confident throwing the ball,” Gentry said. “We still need to execute better in the red zone.” Gentry was referring to Greer’s missed opportunity to score in its first possession of the second quarter when the Jackets turned the ball over to Woodruff on downs after have a first down at the Wolverine’s 13-yard line. Gentry was intercepted once.

“Josh did well,” said Greer Head Coach Will Young. He’s making good decisions and has done everything we have asked.”

Young appeared to be on the field as much as the offense in Greer’s final drive. First he had to correct the officials from marking off the wrong penalty yardage against Greer – it would have been a 30-yard penalty had Young not contested the penalty. The officials called a delay of game on the Jackets a few plays later with Young unsuccessfully trying to convince them the allotted time to run off a play had not run out.

The Jackets turned the ball over on downs and Woodruff marched toward the end zone for the winning drive. Two pass interference penalties kept Woodruff’s drive alive and on fourth down and 10 yards from the end zone, Beck threw a pass to Demajiay Roots in the back of the end zone for the decisive score with 3 seconds remaining.

Young told Johnson to not let the interference bother him. “He’s out there on an island,” Young said, describing Johnson’s play. 

“I want to win as bad as the kids. We had our chances there at the end to make plays there,” Young said.

Greer players will take the weekend off and coaches begin their game week preparations on Sunday watching Seneca on video. Greer players begin their game week on Monday.

Seneca visits Dooley Field next Friday at 7 p.m. in both teams’ season openers.

Tonight’s scoring

First quarter

8:54. Greer: Quez Nesbitt 1 run (Nick Roberson kick)

8:22. Woodruff:  Rice 17 run (Taylor Green kick failed)

8:06. Greer: D’Anta Fleming 63 pass from Josh Gentry (Roberson kick)

1:40.  Woodruff: Chris Leaman 24 pass from Ben Beck (Green kick failed)

Second quarter

:03 Woodruff: Demajiay Roots 1 pass from Beck (Green kick)

LEFTOVERS\

 Officials arrived 90 minutes late for the jamboree, pushing back Greer’s starting time from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

• Greer defensive lineman Tim Ballenger recovered a fumble on Woodruff’s first play from scrimmage.

• Malek Johnson downed a Josh Cooke punt at Woodruff’s 6-yard line with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

• John Hicks, a senior, sat out his first high school practice in four years while recovering from an injury in last week’s drills.  He is expected to be ready to play against Seneca next Friday.• Nakeem Hoke, sophomore, had one tackle for loss among his defensive statistics.

• Jackson Tipton had an interception taken away when Greer was called for holding on the play. One play later Woodruff scored.• Emmanual Kelly touched the ball on offense for the first time for a 22-yard gain with less than a minute remaining in the first half.

• Linebacker Tyler Wright put a solid hit on Woodruff’s Hermundre Rutledge at the end of a first down run. A penalty, however, nullified the achievement.

• Marquis Lyles swatted down a Woodruff pass during a series that had Woodruff threatening to score.

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