Rebels win Region 2-A crown
The Rebels are region champions.
Led by two first-half J.R. Patterson rushing touchdowns, a Bobby Payne receiving TD and a clinching interception return for a touchdown by Bryce Tillotson in the fourth quarter, visiting Thomas Heyward defeated Colleton Prep 29-14 on Friday.
The win is THA's seventh straight and clinched the SCISA Region 2-A crown.
The school's last region championship was the Region 2-AA title in 2007.
THA (8-2, 4-0) begins the Class A state playoffs with a home game next Friday.
''We wanted it really bad this year and it feels good to get it,'' said THA coach Nic Shuford, who yesterday celebrated his 35th birthday.
The Rebels gave their coach the perfect birthday present.
THA led 16-8 at halftime after Patterson TD runs of 25 and 10 yards and a C.J. Cleland 31-yard field goal.
The Rebels scored first on a seven-play, 65-yard drive. Patterson had 63 yards rushing on the drive. Cleland's extra point made it 7-0. THA went ahead 13-0 after an 11-play, 90-yard drive culminated in Patterson's 10-yard run on fourth down. The two-point conversion pass failed. Patterson rushed for 47 yards on the drive.
Cleland's field goal with 3:47 remaining in the half gave THA a 16-0 lead. Colleton Prep pulled to within 16-8 on the last play of the half when it scored a 20-yard touchdown on a fourth-down screen pass and ran for a two-point conversion.
The Warhawks cut the lead to 16-14 in the fourth but Logan Thomas found Payne for a 44-yard TD on a fade pass with 8:15 to go that gave THA a 22-14 lead.
Dalton Steedley had an interception with 1:23 to go and Tillotson sealed the win with a pick-6 with 40 seconds left that put THA ahead 29-14.
"It means a lot," senior Zach Bond said. "Just hard work, hard work. Everybody's intense."
Said Shuford: ''This is something these guys will always remember, a region championship and who knows what else."
Read much more in next week's Jasper County Sun Times.