CCU Texas State ILB 01

The Chanticleers defeated Texas State 35-21 in the final regular season home game at Brooks Stadium Saturday. The Chants (9-2) travel to South Alabama Friday to close out the season. Photo by Ian Livingston Brooking.

On a day dedicated to a Coastal Carolina senior class, it was those same seniors who shined bright Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium as the Chants secured a 35-21 win over Texas State.

Senior wide receivers Jaivon Heiligh, Isaiah Likely and Kameron Brown combined for a total of 253 receiving yards, with Heiligh leading the way with 101 yards. The three senior wide receivers each caught a touchdown, with Brown hauling in two on the day.

“For this group of seniors to win their last one at Brooks here, that was our whole focus for those guys was to play for each other and to go out with a big win here,” CCU head coach Jamey Chadwell said.

Getting the win Saturday wasn’t a walk in the park though.

With redshirt sophomore Grayson McCall back under center after missing the last two games due to an injury, the Chants looked to take control early over the Bobcats. While the Chants went three and out on their opening drive, McCall and company put together a decent six-plus minute drive, with McCall finding Brown for a 19-yard touchdown to open the scoring.

“I was super excited all week to get back out there,” McCall said.

After forcing the Bobcats to punt, Coastal put together an 8-minute drive that ended with senior running back Shermari Jones being stuffed at the one-yard line on fourth down and ultimately giving the ball back to the Bobcats.

The “Black Swarm” defense stood tall, though, forcing a three and out again and the Chants took advantage of the opportunity as McCall found Heiligh to make it 14-0 with less than 6:30 to play in the first quarter.

While it looked as if the Chants were going to run away with it, Texas State had other ideas.

On the ensuing drive, the Bobcats ate up nearly five minutes of clock, going 75 yards with Jahmyl Jeter finishing off the drive from a yard out. After Massimo Biscardi missed a 48-yard field goal, the Bobcats went 69 yards in just four plays, highlighted by Calvin Hill taking it 54 yards to the house as time expired, tying things up at 14.

“You give up that big play and it was demoralizing,” Chadwell said. “It could’ve taken out a lot of air.”

Texas State had a chance to take the lead on the opening drive of the second half but the Chanticleer defense forced another three and out. The Chants wasted no time in getting their offensive groove back as McCall heaved one down field to Brown for a 52-yard touchdown to put the Chants ahead 21-14.

Brown, who started his college football career at Charleston Southern with Chadwell in 2015, finished the day with four catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. After a career that has seen it all, McCall touched on the tenacity and constant grind that Brown has.

“He’s never wavered and he’s prevailed through it all,” McCall said. “He comes in every day and he works. I’m just really happy for him and him being able to go out there and show what he can really do.”

Texas State did tie things up again on the ensuing drive but McCall was too much as he capped off a 10 play, 75-yard drive with an absolute dime to Likely with less than five minutes to go.

McCall capped off a stellar performance, and a win for the Chants, with another long ball to Tyson Mobley from 39 yards out. McCall’s five-touchdown game is not just a career high but also ties the school record for most passing touchdowns in a game. The last Chanticleer to reach that milestone was Alex Ross in 2015 against Kennesaw State.

McCall finished Saturday’s game with 319 yards through the air, completing 22 of his 29 passes, along with 53 rushes on 12 attempts.

On the defensive side of the ball, it truly was the perfect send-off for the seniors as seniors Silas Kelly, Teddy Gallagher, Alex Spillum and C.J. Brewer each had five tackles or more. Kelly led the way with 11 total tackles, his fourth game with 10 or more tackles and third in the last four games.

Chadwell held back some emotion when talking about the legacy that Kelly and many other seniors have left at Coastal.

“Last year, he had a great year and he could’ve said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna ride off,’ but he wanted to finish it with his brothers,” Chadwell said. “People like that, that’s what makes teams special.”

The win Saturday puts the Chants at 9-2 on the year and 5-2 in conference play. A win next Friday at South Alabama would give the Chants back-to-back, 10-win seasons for the first time since 2013 and 2014. After 13 wins in their first three seasons in FBS, the Chants have now racked up 20 wins in the last two seasons after Saturday.

Senior C.J. Brewer reflected on the trials and tribulations he and his fellow seniors faced and how they prevailed through the adversity.

“It’s been crazy. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” Brewer said. “Shoutout to all the guys that stuck through it. Yeah, it got hard being here at one point, but that’s part of it. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

While it is still undecided which bowl game the Chanticleers will play next month, several sports media outlets have predicted for the past several weeks that the Chants will remain at the Grand Strand for their bowl game and play in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

Aside from the Myrtle Beach Bowl, the other bowl games with Sun Belt tie-ins are the Boca Raton Bowl, Camelia Bowl, Cure Bowl, Frisco Bowl, Lending Tree Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl.

“I’d rather play somewhere else but at the end of the day it’s football,” Brewer said. “If we got to play here, I’ll strap up my pads and play another game here. I’d love to play here again but of course, if everybody wants to go somewhere else, to get a different experience, another city and just live a little more life together. But it is what it is. Whatever we go to do, it’s what we got to do and we’re just gonna play ball.”

The Chanticleers will conclude the regular season on the road at South Alabama on Friday, Nov. 26. Kickoff between the Chants and the Jaguars is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.

Reach Ian Livingston Brooking at 843-248-6882 for any story ideas or news happening in your area.

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