Dolphins rally to clobber Cougars
By Justin Jarrett
As the final seconds of the first half ticked off the stunning new video board at Battery Creek High School on Wednesday night, it seemed like the magic of the Dolphins’ new digs might be wearing off.
Star Damien Freeman was on the sideline with his arm in a sling, the secondary was in shambles, and the Dolphins were down by 10 in a game they desperately needed to win to have a shot at making the playoffs.
But a different Creek team emerged from the locker room, as the defense pitched a second-half shutout and Jeremiah Mceachin carried the load with 262 rushing yards and three touchdowns to fuel the Dolphins to a 40-24 win over North Charleston for their second straight win to open their renovated stadium.
Freeman left with a collarbone injury after scoring the game’s first touchdown, leaving Mceachin to be the Dolphins’ workhorse – the senior toted it 32 times.
Creek was up 14-8 with 8:28 left in the half when things started going sideways. A long kick return set the Cougars up in Creek territory, and elusive quarterback Tyrell Gadsden hit Xzavion Capers for a quick score before North Charleston added the two-point conversion for a 16-14 lead.
After the Dolphins muffed a punt, the duo connected again when Gadsden scrambled out of trouble and chucked it deep for Capers, and the Cougars against slammed in the conversion try for a 10-point lead. Creek drove inside the 10 in an effort to respond, but the Dolphins were stopped on fourth down at the 5 in a deflating end to the half.
Battery Creek’s defense set the tone for the second half from the outset, as Leroy Tyus and Anthony Phelan led a renewed pass rush that flustered Gadsden and a green secondary wracked by injuries buckled down and helped the Dolphins win the field position game.
Quarterback Hunter Smith adjusted after halftime and came up with two big plays in the passing game, finding Kendall McMillon on a quick pass that struck pay dirt and popping one over the line for a streaking Juju Gordon, who dashed into the end zone for a 26-24 lead with 7:35 to play.
The Dolphins’ defense bent, allowing Gadsden to scramble for a first down on fourth-and-long, but Gordon stole the spotlight again with an interception in the end zone to preserve the lead, and Mceachin made sure the Cougars couldn’t keep pace. The bruising back led a workmanlike drive and capped it off with his second touchdown run, then added another to seal it after the Dolphins recovered a fumble on the kick return.
It gets tougher for the Dolphins (3-4, 1-0) this week, as they host rival Beaufort on Saturday. The Eagles (4-1, 1-0) are the fifth-ranked team in Class 3A.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
All games at 7:30 unless noted.
Lucy Beckham at Bluffton
Cross Schools at Clarendon Hall
Bethesda Academy at Colleton Prep
Wade Hampton (H) at Edisto
Thomas Heyward at Hilton Head Christian
Colleton County at Hilton Head Island
John Paul II at Hilton Head Prep, 4:30 p.m.
May River at James Island
Dorchester Academy at Patrick Henry
Woodland at Ridgeland-Hardeeville
Estill at Whale Branch
Beaufort Academy at Williamsburg
Beaufort at Battery Creek
Justin Jarrett is the sports editor of The Island News and the founder of LowcoSports.com. He was the sports editor of the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette for 6½ years. He has a passion for sports and community journalism and a questionable sense of humor.