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Hartsville High School

Despite loss in finals, future for Red Foxes looks good

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

 Hartsville – A second straight appearance in the Class AAAA football state championship game resulted in a second consecutive loss to South Pointe but Hartsville head coach Jeff Calabrese says the program will continue its quest for a title in 2018.

Hartsville lost to South Pointe, 38-14, as the Stallions won a fourth consecutive state title. It was the third time that Hartsville has lost to South Pointe in a state championship game.

It should be considered somewhat of a surprise that Hartsville was able to capture another lower state title and finish with a 13-2 record this season. Calabrese fielded a relatively young team this fall with only a handful of starting seniors.

“We’re a young football team so for this group to reach the final again is really special,” said Calabrese, who has taken Hartsville to four state finals since becoming the head coach in 2005. “It’s not fun to lose when you get here. Our expectation was to win the game and it didn’t work out for us. I’m proud of the way this team worked all year but there are no moral victories at Hartsville. We’ll get back to work and start trying to win it next year.”

The Red Foxes reached the finals this fall literally running over and past every opponent. Hartsville’s double-wing attack amassed 4,758 yards and 55 touchdowns on the ground. As a team, the Red Foxes averaged 8.4 yards per carry.

Junior Tiyon Evans went over the 2,000-yard mark in the title game, finishing this season with 2,076 yards and 28 touchdowns. Evans rushed for a school-record 307 yards in Hartsville’s lower state championship win over Berkeley. He also led Hartsville in receiving yards, finishing with 540 yards and eight scores.

Another junior, Collins Bishop, gained 876 yards while sophomore fullback Donovan Lambert finished the season with more than 550 yards and seven touchdowns.

Senior quarterback AJ Joyner passed for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns this fall.

The offensive line started just two seniors - left guard Tical McFarland and tight end Cole Beasley.

Junior Lee Prescott was the starting left tackle and junior Montana Walker started at right tackle. Junior Mac Cranford was the center and sophomore Justin Abraham started at right guard.

Hartsville’s defense was a solid, productive unit.

Linebacker Hunter Weeks, one of four senior starters, finished as the team leader in tackles with more than 100 total hits. Sophomore linebacker Zay Peterson had 105 tackles and sophomore linebacker Kevon Haigler finished with 86 total hits.

Along the front, sophomore end Demonte Capehart racked up 24 tackles for loss and seven sacks while junior end Curtis Thompson had 19 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Junior corner Rod Gattison had six interceptions and freshman safety Keyshawn McDonald had five picks.

 

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