Red Devils win in first round

The Wade Hampton High School Red Devils varsity football team won their first round playoff game at home Nov. 3 against Manning.

Despite a weak turnout by Wade Hampton High School football fans, the team still prevailed over their powerhouse opponent from Manning by a final score of 23-18 during the team’s first round playoff matchup Friday night.

The Red Devils began the game by receiving the ball and a Manning penalty two downs later gave the Devils a great opening opportunity to control the momentum of the game early on. A Devil fumble several plays later offered Manning an opportunity to steal that momentum right back, but it was a missed opportunity for Manning.

“When our quarterback fumbled and they were getting ready to scoop and score and the fullback picked it up and brought it back--that was huge. That was tough on them [Manning}, it stopped all of their momentum and it gave us complete momentum. It was definitely the turning point in the game,” said WHHS Head Coach Jerry Brown.

Tre Phoneix, who has been selected to participate in the North/South All-Star game later this year, came away with several important tackles during the game, including an important third down stop which forced a Manning punt early in the game.

The Devils were the first to put points on the board during the first quarter by way of a safety after a thwarted fourth and goal attempt by Maxwell gave their opponents possession of ball.

Manning came back to score halfway through the second quarter to put the game at 6-2 after an errant snap during the extra-point attempt. The Devils had no problems staying right with their competition and put up another six points by way of a DeSario Williams touchdown run, making it 9-6 in favor of the Red Devils after a successful extra-point kick.

The remainder of the second quarter stayed quiet until Manning threatened a touchdown moments before halftime, but they were stopped in the red zone by Devil defense.

“We spent a lot of time working on short yardage defense…working on that short yardage situation, and that goal line defense at either end paid off for us. That’s really what got us started well,” said Brown.

The excitement level of the Red Devil fans was quickly reduced after Manning ran the opening kickoff after halftime back 81-yards for a touchdown to make the score 12-9 in Manning’s favor with 8:44 left in the third. The two-point conversion attempt was no good. After several more plays, including a beautiful pass deflection by Chris Orr, the Devils again entered the end zone on a Maxwell run to make the game 16-12 after a successful extra-point kick.

Another Maxwell touchdown run in the third placed the Devils in the lead 23-12 after a successful extra-point kick. Manning again answered back with a passing drive which ended in a touchdown pass completion to put the score at 23-18 with 2:19 seconds left in regulation.

An onside kick by Manning was recovered by Manning, but the WHHS defense held strong and walked off the field with a first round playoff win.

Brown expects another high-energy, drama-filled Friday night at Devil Hill for the second round of playoff action. As well as high-energy football, Maxwell will attempt to break the 2,000-yard mark for the season on Nov. 10 during the team’s second round matchup against Brooklyn-Cayce  at Devil Hill.

“They are a very excellent team offensively. They give different looks; they can pack the box with eleven people or they can spread it out and no backs and go empty. They do a lot well,” said Brown,

“I don’t what people are doing on Friday nights, but the most exciting thing in the whole county is going on right here,” said the head coach of his desire to see packed bleachers Friday. “Nothing on TV, the movies or anything else could be more exciting or have more drama involved. It was a great drama Friday night. That’s the thing about high school football, there is so much drama. And the kids would really appreciate their support.”