Socastee won the "Battle of 707" Friday night, defeating region rival St. James 20-14 and giving new head coach Ben Hampton his first victory with the program.
"We had a lot of missed assignments and opportunities that we did not take advantage of," Hampton said. "But at the end of the day, we found a way to come back and win."
The game featured strong grind-it-out running by Aryon Armstrong of the Sharks, a touchdown pass from Sharks quarterback Alex Jones to wide receiver Justice Williams, and a pass interception by Sharks defensive back Joe Kotwicki that resulted in a touchdown.
With just under five minutes left in the first half, the St. James squad pulled ahead of the visiting Braves (1-1, 1-1 region) 14-7, and that’s how the score would remain at halftime and throughout the third quarter.
It had all the makings of a contest that was St. James’ to lose, and that’s what happened, thanks to powerful, tackle-breaking running by Socastee's Javon Cola, and a touchdown run by the Braves’ Michael James with a little over seven minutes left in the game. With about four minutes remaining in the closely fought battle, James ran for another touchdown, making the score 20-14 in favor of Socastee.
The Sharks never gave up, but they couldn’t move the ball across the goal line.
Facing a fourth-and-14 with 1:12 left in the game, Sharks head football coach Tommy Norwood called time out and drew up one last exotic play. It was a double pass play that almost worked, but the long throw to Justice Williams was incomplete.
The Braves took over, ran out the clock and celebrated their first win of the season.
Hampton said he was happy for his players, but he cautioned that they need to improve.
“We’ve got Conway coming up, so we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for them, starting on Monday,” he said.
Conway (1-1, 1-1 region) lost 42-0 to Carolina Forest on Friday.
"I couldn’t be happier for the kids," Hampton said. "We’re going to celebrate this and enjoy it and we’ll move on to Conway."