Nation Ford coach Michael Allen pulled out some paper from his pocket to show his team in the post-game huddle following his team’s 56-27 home win over Boiling Springs Friday night in Fort Mill.
On it, he said, was scribbled everything from good plays, bad mistakes, things the Falcons needed to clean up and more.
“If this paper looks next week like it does today,” he told his team, “We’re gonna be feeling sad.”
There’s plenty to work on in the next week of training, Allen said following the game. Some gaudy offensive statistics papered over some missed opportunities and sloppy defense, he said.
Still, the Falcons, who are now 4-3 overall, are 2-0 in Region 3-5A play so far this season. And with a trip to Gaffney High next week, the team senses it could go one step further to potentially winning a region championship outright.
Quarterback Carson Black threw for five touchdowns and over 300 yards in the lopsided win, including two scoring passes each to Kenan Bowman and Jerrick Foster to build up a handsome lead.
Meanwhile, running back duo Jeremiah Hailstock scored two touchdowns and mounted 108 yards, while Eli Whitner scored a touchdown and racked up plenty of crucial first downs.
“We made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Allen said. “I thought we were sloppy, and sloppy football doesn’t win region championships. We’ve got to clean it up, but our kids work really, really hard, and our coaches work hard. We’re 2-0 in the region, and if we cut those mistakes, we have a wonderful opportunity in front of us.”
Boiling Springs remains winless on the season and in region play is now 0-7. Athlete Carmelo Martin scored three touchdowns in a losing effort.
Still, Nation Ford had to work hard to bounce back from a rocky start.
After going three-and-out on their first drive, the Falcons’ long snapper snapped the ball above punter Reed Richardson’s hands and the punter had to down the ball at the Nation Ford 2-yard line. Boiling Springs quarterback Ke’tron Adams pushed his way into the end zone on a sneak to earn the early lead just two plays later.
The hosts responded on the next possession. Black connected with receivers Foster and Bowman for long gains before finding Quadier Hand for a 15-yard score to tie the ballgame at 7-7.
The Falcons next struck just inside the second quarter. Starting at the Boiling Springs 34, it only took five plays before Black spotted Bowman roaming from six yards out to push the score to 13-7.
By that time, Black was dialed in. When the Falcons regained possession, he found Foster for quick completions, then spotted Foster streaking down the right sideline. Black fizzed it to Foster’s hands, and Foster’s speed did the rest of the job to put Nation Ford up by two scores. Black completed the 2-point conversion to give Nation Ford a 21-7 lead.
Boiling Springs wasn’t ready to lay down without a fight. On the ensuing Bulldogs possession, Adams threw a pass to Carmelo Martin near the sideline, and Martin was able to outrun the Nation Ford defense en route to a 69-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-14.
But Black and Nation Ford was undaunted by the response. Hailstock rocked a 20-yard gain and Black found Bowman for a 30-yard catch to push Nation Ford inside the red zone. It was only a matter of time before Black found Foster waiting in the end zone from 16 yards out to push the score to 27-14. The Falcons held on to that lead heading into the halftime break.
Donivan Pittman picked off Adams early in the third quarter when the quarterback threw a prayer downfield, but the Falcons were unable to convert. The Bulldogs later fumbled a lateral, which set up the Falcons in Boiling Springs territory. Hailstock didn’t take long to burst through the Bulldogs defense and score from 44 yards out. A 2-point conversion gave Nation Ford a 35-14 edge.
Black nearly found Brooks Johnson open in the end zone near the end of the third quarter, but the pass was tipped and a Boiling Springs defender came away with it.
Whitner took over the majority of the run plays late in the game and reeled off five straight rushes before heading into the end zone from 5 yards out for a 42-14 lead.
Martin responded almost entirely on his own for the Bulldogs, pulling off a 43-yard dash, then a 27-yard scoring run to cut the lead to 42-20 after a failed Boiling Springs PAT.
Two possessions later, Black found Bowman for a 35-yard touchdown, and on the next Falcons drive, Hailstock took it into the end zone from 24 yards out.
Martin had one final highlight of the game; a weaving 61-yard touchdown run to make the scoreboard look a little more favorably for the Bulldogs.
Nation Ford next plays Gaffney on the road Oct. 15. Allen said the Gaffney game will likely be pivotal in the region race.
“We’re trending in the right direction, Allen said. “I don’t know if we’ve got a perfect game in us, but if we play more toward the side of perfect, we’ll be in a good situation.”