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September 16, 2010

Tigers Catch Lightning in a Bottle to Best Highland 24-8

After opening the season 0-2, and watching Highland jump out to halftime lead, Scotland County needed to “catch lightning in a bottle.” With thunderstorms halting the contest after the first period, SCR-I fans were happy to see SCR-I get a figurative boost instead of the real thing.

Sabe Sears broke a 93-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and that proved to be the difference as the Tigers erased an 8-6 deficit to defeat Highland 24-8 in a game shortened by inclement weather.

Scotland County opened the game without the services of three linemen, starter Andy Garrett and reserves Derick Gibson and Skyler Holton, all out with injuries.

Highland took advantage of the weakened defensive line early on, pushing the Tigers down field behind the rushing attack of Chris Sparks.

But the Tigers defense made a stand and Brock Bondurant picked off a fourth down pass attempt to give the Tigers the ball at the 22-yard line.

The junior continued his solid play over to offense, where the Tigers quarterback scrambled away from the Highland pressure and connected with Sabe Sears on a 41-yard pass play to put his team in scoring position.

After Rod Sears moved the chains with a solid run, Scotland County got on the scoreboard on an 11-yard shovel pass from Bondurant to Sabe Sears to make the score 6-0 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.

Highland moved the ball to midfield to close the first quarter when the game was delayed for nearly 45 minutes due to lightning.

The stoppage didn’t slow the Highland offense. The Cougars came back out to start the second quarter and finished off the strong drive with Kamron Roberts finding JT Gray for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Gray then ran in the two-point conversion to put Highland up 8-6.

The two teams traded punts on the next two possessions, but the Cougars caught a break when the officials ruled their kick was touched by a Tiger allowing Highland to recover the “fumble” and set up another scoring opportunity.

The Tigers defense prevented Highland from taking advantage of the turnover as Cody Avery made a big stop, forcing Highland to turn the ball over on downs at the 19-yard line.

SCR-I tried to get something going in the final minute of the first half. Harley Stone moved the chains with a good run, before the drive appeared to stall. But Coach Brent Bondurant called a fake punt play, and Brock Bondurant was one defender away from a touchdown. The Tigers tried a pass to the end zone as time expired but the ball fell incomplete.

Sabe Sears quieted the Highland homecoming crowd that had just crowned its queen. The abbreviated halftime celebration was dampened beyond the rainstorm by the speedster’s breakaway touchdown.

After a holding penalty nullified a two-point run by Sabe Sears, SCR-I reloaded and Bondurant connected with Stone on a 13-yard pass to make the score 14-8 with 11:37 left in the third period.

Scotland County’s defense allowed just one first down before forcing a punt.

The Tigers moved into scoring position with a 12-yard run by Rod Sears and an 18-yard pass play from Bondurant to Stone. But a key penalty stalled the drive and forced SCR-I to attempt a 37-yard field goal. Stone drilled the three-pointer with plenty of distance to make the score 17-8 with 5:14 left in the quarter.

Highland put together a decent drive on its next possession, but after Derick Smith picked up the first down on a pass reception he coughed up the ball. Laden Holt pounced on the fumble to give SCR-I the ball at midfield.

Scotland County failed to take advantage of the turnover, but pinned Highland deep in its own territory with a good punt by Sabe Sears as the skies opened up again and the rain returned to Highland High School.

Scotland County’s defense kept the Cougars pinned deep forcing Highland to punt from its own 10-yard line. The snap was mishandled and SCR-I took over first and goal at the start of the fourth period.

Sabe Sears scored on a 9-yard run with 10:30 left in the contest. Stone tacked on the PAT to make it 24-8 before the Highland administrators stepped in and called the game due to the weather with 10:22 left in the final period.

Highland managed 13 first downs on the night, with Sparks gaining 92 yards on 21 attempts. But the Tigers made key halftime adjustments to limit him to only 11 yards after the intermission. The Cougars completed 3 of 8 passes for 24 yards.

Scotland County had 10 first downs in the game. Sabe Sears finished with 104 yards and two TDs on five carries. Rod Sears had 33 yards on five attempts and Stone had 52 yards on eight attempts.

Bondurant completed 4 of 9 passes for 84 yards and a TD. Stone caught two passes for 29 yards while Sabe Sears had the other two grabs for 55 yards.

Stone led the defense with 11 tackles while Bondurant made 10 stops. Sabe Sears made nine tackles and Jed Troutman added six stops.


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