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Dillon High School

 

Injuries To Key Players At Dillon Not Slowing Down “Wildcat Express” & “Next Up” Players Fill In With Great Effort For A 6-0 Team 

By Billy Baker

Publisher

Dillon—Injuries are a huge factor in the physical game of football, and since Dillon’s 24-7 win over Marlboro County on September, 22, star running back Jalen Williams has been out with an ankle sprain and defensive stand-out ZaReon Hayes is out indefinitely with shoulder issues.

“It is unfortunate to have injuries to two key players but it does give other players a chance to step up and that has happened for us,” said head coach Jackie Hayes who earned his 297th career win with the Wildcats after a 42-8 win over Waccamaw last week. “We do not know when we are getting either player back but Williams is expected back sooner. ZaReon is waiting to get an MRI done on his shoulder.” 

Dillon will host Loris this week (Oct., 6) and they are 16-0 against the Lions since 1972. “There record might not be very good but they have played a tough schedule against quality teams like North Myrtle Beach, ranked near the top in AAAA, and Carolina Forest a much bigger school.” said Coach Hayes. “Loris is a well coached team and they have a quality coaching staff. This week will be a real test for us to see where we are as a team. Loris also played a good game against South Columbus, N.C. and just got a few bad breaks in that game. They played Lake City tough last week and only lost by three points.”

His assessment of his 6-0 Wildcats is on point. “We are a scrappy bunch with a good work ethic and we are focused on doing what we need to do to win football games with good team effort,” said Coach Hayes. “Our coaches work hard at keeping everyone focused. Back when I played in the 1970’s injuries were not such a big deal as they seem to be now. I played with nagging injuries all the time.”

In the Waccamaw win Isiah Benjamin stepped up at running back gaining 131 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. He averaged 10.9 yards a carry .Ty’Reek Cabbagestalk has filled in for Hayes on defense and after two games he has 16 tackles and a sack.  “Benjamin runs hard and we are pleased with the play of Cabbagestalk on defense,” said Coach Hayes. “Both these young men are taking full advantage of their opportunities.”

Coach Hayes has also been pleased with the play of sophomore quarterback Jay Lester who continues to improve with each game. He completed 13 of 20 passes against Waccamaw for a season high 214 yards and three touchdowns. Lester threw a 35 yard scoring pass to Ty’Quan Porter, a 31 yard touchdown pass to Quez Manning, and a 17 yard scoring strike to Amad Huggins-Bruce in just three quarters of action.

The top receivers for Dillon against Waccamaw were Porter who caught three passes for 74 yards and Huggins Bruce had four catches for 46 yards.

On defense the Nasty Cats were led on defense by linebacker Dray Thompson with six hits against Waccamaw. Cabbagestalk chipped in with four tackles and highly regarded defensive end Shamar McCallum (6-4, 215) had three tackles. McCollum leads the team in sacks with 3.5. Corrian Wright had a big play on defense returning a pick 45 yards for a touchdown.

The Nasty Cats held Waccamaw to minus one yard rushing on 20 plays. The Warriors completed 7 of 28 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown. To date the Dillon offense has rushed for 1,524 yards on 215 carries and 22 touchdowns while passing for 679 yards and seven touchdowns.

On the season the tackle leaders through six games are Thompson with 38, McCallum 33, Shakai Jeanti has 28 and Jadarius McDaniel has 21 total tackles. Daizon Alford has 18 tackles with Cabbagestalk at 16 and Hayes has 15 tackles with two sacks and two tipped passes. 

The offensive line continues to block well according to Coach Hayes. The leaders up-front are all-state candidates Khalil Bethea at left tackle and Dawson Dove (6-2, 275) at center. Jalen Young (6-1, 250) shares time at right tackle with Hunter Lane and Austin Allen and Damien McLaurin are seeing time at left guard. Porter and Ty Rogers are the primary receivers along with tight end Jackson Hayes.

To date the leading rushers are Williams with 730 net yards on 94 carries and 8 touchdowns followed by Hayes with 344 yards on 34 carries and 9 touchdowns. Benjamin has netted out at 186 yards on 25 carries and two scores. Lester can run as well averaging 4.5 yards a carry and he has 138 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown.

In the kicking game Ahmad Dawad is having a good season having made 29 of 33 PAT’s and a field goal of 21 yards. He also has a 37.5 yard punting average on 8 boots.

After Loris the Wildcats play at Aynor October, 13th, host Georgetown on the 20th and close out the regular season at home against Lake City on the 27th.  If the Wildcats defeat Loris and Aynor Coach Hayes will be playing for his 300th win at home against Georgetown. In the rich history of prep football in South Carolina only 8 coaches have won 300 or more games in a career in South Carolina led by Summerville’s John McKissick who retired after the 2014 season with a national record 621 wins.       

 

 

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