GAFFNEY – Another long season for the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets football team came to end Friday night with a 48-14 loss to the Gaffney Indians. 

Gaffney came into the game looking to lock up a perfect regular season improving their record to 10-0 overall with the win. It was the first Indians undefeated regular season in 10 years. The Jackets dropped to 1-8 to finish the regular season and 0-4 in Region 3-5A. 

Fort Mill struggled from the opening kick. After the first half, the Jackets had just one first down compared to 14 from Gaffney. The Indians ran 35 plays for 272 yards in the first half, while Fort Mill ran 23 plays for 22 yards. For the game, Fort Mill gained 129 yards and Gaffney racked up 368. Jackets quarterback Isaiah Haynes went 9-for-16 for 70 yards and two interceptions. Haynes also rushed for 40 yards on seven carries. On the ground, Michael Threat rushed for 22 yards on 17 carries.

Gaffney took a 34-0 lead in to the half, which could have been a worse score had penalties not called back a touchdown and had an Indians’ player not dropped a pass in the end zone. Gaffney scores 14 second half points playing mostly bench players. 

There were some bright spots in the game for Fort Mill as Haynes hit Jason Moran in the fourth quarter with 3:08 to put the Jackets on the board on a 23-yard touchdown pass.  Fort Mill’s JJ Ogwal followed with an interception on the next Indians drive giving the Jackets another chance. Haynes then hit Jordan Sasser for a 32-yard touchdown on the next play for Fort Mill to make the score look more decent. 

“It’s a testament to the kids,” said Fort Mill head coach Rob McNeely. “They fought their tails off in the fourth quarter. They didn’t quit.”

Joshua Sturgeon returned the kickoff to open the second quarter to give Fort Mill their best starting position of the half at the Indians 46-yard line. The results ended with Fort Mill being picked off four plays later to give Gaffney the ball back about midfield. 

Gaffney had a touchdown erased off the board on a personal foul from the two-yard line, but was pushed back to the 28-yard line. The Indians were again forced to kick a field goal, this time hitting from 32-yards to make it 20-0 with 7:50 left in the half. 

Gaffney and Fort Mill traded possessions and the Jackets turned the ball over again on their second interception of the first half. Fort Mill also turned the ball over on downs which led to a Tyler Smith 6-yard touchdown run to extend the Indians lead with about 2:30 left in the half. Fort Mill lost Sturgeon on the ensuing kickoff as he was hurt and assisted off the field. He would not return for the rest of the game.

Gaffney would score one more time before the half to make it 34-0 with 1:20 left as Indians’ quarterback Grayson Loftis threw his second touchdown of the half. 

Fort Mill again came in to the game with a limited roster of about 30 players dressed. Gaffney took advantage of a nice starting position at the Jackets 43-yard line after a Fort Mill punt and scored on five-plays with a 10-yard reception from Smith to put the Indians on the board about 2:44 in to the game. 

Already a big challenge ahead of them in facing Gaffney, Fort Mill was hurt by penalties early in the first quarter giving Gaffney good starting positions each series. 

Gaffney started their second series on the 39-yard line and let Ken Littlejohn do the majority of the work to get them into the end zone, this time from two yards out with 4:43 left. 

Fort Mill had four offside penalties in their first three series and never got past their 25-yard line through the first quarter. Penalties also hurt Gaffney towards the end of the first quarter as they were kept out of the end zone forcing them to kick a 34-yard field goal to open the second quarter. 

Mac Banks:, @fortprep