Friday the Maroon Devils used a 20 point fourth quarter to break open a tight 8-6 contest and cruise to a 28-6 win over visiting West Wilkes in the second round of the NCHSAA 1AA playoffs. The game itself proved to be a game of halves, if you will, with West Wilkes controlling the tempo of the first half the Maroon Devils taking full control in the second half.
West opened the game with an impressive no huddle drive, that proved to be their best of the night. The Blackhawks moved from their own 37 yard line to the Swain 23 yard line, where they missed a 40 yard field goal.
West did make good on two other first half field goal attempts, one from 31 yards and the other from 34 yards. In the first half the Hawks moved the ball well enough to build up a two to one advantage in terms of time of possession, keeping the Swain offense sidelined for much of the first half.
Swain got on the board courtesy of a West Wilkes poor snap on a punt. The snap sailed out of the back of the endzone to give Swain two points on a safety.
Cody Rich returned the kickoff, after the safety, out to mid-field to set up the Devils offense with their best field position of the night. Following two running plays that netted only 5 yards, the Devils went to the air. Colby Hyatt found a wide open Lee Pattillo for a 39 yard gain down to the West Wilkes 6 yard line. Three plays later it was Hyatt who plunged over from the 2 yard line with the game’s first touchdown. The Devils two point conversion attempt was no good.
After heading into halftime with a slim 8-6 lead the Devils defense put the clamps on the Blackhawks in the second half. West Wilkes did not record a single first down in the game’s final two quarters, and netted -7 yards on offense for the half.
The domination of the Devils D allowed field position to become a factor for the Devils. To open the fourth quarter Swain got premium field position courtesy of a West punt at the Blackhawk 40 yard line. Seven plays later Colby Hyatt plunged in from one yard out to give the Devils and their fans some much needed breathing room. Evan Sneed added the point after to give Swain a 15-6 lead.
Swain would go on to score on their next two possessions to put the game out of reach. Josue Otero added both scores, the first coming on a 48 yard scamper and the second on a three yard run.
On the night the Devils were limited to only 146 yards rushing, their lowest output since the Franklin game, and easily their lowest during the current 9 game winning streak.
Jared Turbyfill led the Swain defense as he was in on 13 tackles, including 3 for a loss. Lee Pattillo added 11 tackles and a pass break-up, while Drew Huskey had 9 tackles and an interception. Jacob Wildcatt and Corbin Panther each had 8 tackles.
Swain (12-1) advances to face number one seeded Mitchell (12-1) this coming Friday night at Mitchell.