By Johnny Falduto of Friday Night Final - only on The ROAR
Spartanburg High School (1-0 region play, 4-3 overall) opened region play with a 36-23 victory over Byrnes (0-1 region play, 5-2 overall) at Viking Field on Thursday night, with the game having been moved up due to expected weather conditions on Friday night.
“I don’t think the short week affected us much simply because of the way we prepare,” said Spartanburg star quarterback Raheim Jeter of the unusually short week, “I think we were the best prepared team and that showed up on the scoreboard tonight.”
Coming into the game at 3-3, much was made of Spartanburg’s rigorous non-region schedule that included Georgia class 6A powerhouse Langston Hughes (6-0) and class 7A powerhouse Grayson (5-1). “As a team, we loved the non-region schedule,” said Jeter, “We knew how tough it would be but we know how much better that would make us and how much it would help us when it came time for region play.”
Byrnes sophomore RJ Livingston opened up Thursday night’s scoring with a 4th and goal run to the outside just past the midway point of the opening quarter, but the remainder of the half belonged to the Vikings, who at one point scored an unanswered 17 straight points on a 45-yard touchdown run by freshman Rahkeith Kelly, a 28-yard field goal by freshman Will Love, and a 1-yard touchdown run by Raheim Jeter. By halftime, a 28-yard field goal from junior Jacob Coman would be Byrnes’ only response, cutting the Spartanburg lead to 17-10.
On their second half opening drive, Byrnes quarterback Colby Shaw found Ethan Morris on a 5-yard connection to even the game at 17. Within minutes, however, the Vikings jumped back out to a double digit lead with a Will Love field goal and a Terrian Nelson 60-yard pick-six, which marked the third turnover of the game created by Spartanburg’s defense.
“I thought our defense played great,” said Jeter, “They (the defense) pushed us, and as an offense we pushed them right back. We really came together as a team.”
Refusing to go away, Colby Shaw found sophomore Chamarryus Bomar for a 32-yard score on 4th & 10, cutting the Spartanburg lead to 27-23. Coming right back once again, though, Jeter found the end zone again, this time on a 1-yard rush, extending the Vikings lead back up to 34-23. A safety for the Spartanburg defense would cap off their strong showing against a good Byrnes offense, and bring about the final score of 36-23.
After the win, Raheim Jeter made it very clear what he thought his team was capable of the rest of the way: “I think we can go as far as a state championship,” he said. “We have 2 team goals: make the playoffs and win a state championship. I fully believe we can achieve both of those goals.”
Spartanburg’s next stop on their journey to achieve those goals is Friday night at Gaffney (3-2), while Byrnes returns home to face Boiling Springs (2-5) as they look to end their two-game losing streak following a 5-0 start.
Tune in to our Tri-County Tech High School Football Game of the Week, Friday nights at 7pm.