The midsummer heat and humidity of Bishopville, SC played a huge role in the 2018 season opener, as the Varsity Football team fell late to the reigning SCISA 2A State Runner-Up Robert E. Lee Academy Cavaliers, 21-7.
Early on, the Highlanders looked the dominant team, allowing only two first downs and forcing a turnover (Justin Lange INT) over the entirety of the first half. The defensive front of Rondarius Porter and Henry Kimbrough dominated the line of scrimmage, aided by the linebacker play of Ronnie Porter, Daniel Schmitt, Davis Buchanan, and Drew Hall. The secondary allowed only one first half completion.
The Highlanders built steam in the running game, propelled by a long run from senior Keshaun Brown, before sophomore Ronnie Porter raced 17 yards for the Heathwood score midway through the first quarter (Grayson Tanner PAT).
The Heathwood offense would work deep inside Cavalier territory several more times in the half, but couldn’t add more points on the board, holding the 7-0 lead at the break.
After a miscue on the punt snap of the first drive of the second half, the Highlander defense couldn’t defend the short field, and REL claimed their first points of the night on a TD pass early in the third period.
Teams traded punts into the fourth quarter, before a barrage of cramps and injuries saw the short-handed Highlanders allow two late TD’s to seal the final score.
Heathwood (0-1) will rest for the weekend, and begin preparations quickly for second year of a trip to Sumter for a matchup with the Wilson Hall Barons. Next Friday’s kickoff is scheduled for 7:30PM at Baron Stadium.