O-W runs over Bulldogs to end season
The inability to stop a power-running game haunted the Marlboro County High football team all year. Friday night, that weakness brought an end to the season.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson pounded the Bulldog defense for seven rushing touchdowns and over 250 yards enroute to a 46-33 win in the first round of the state playoffs.
"It was our worst fear. We knew they had a big, bruising running back. We have had problems with stopping an offense that runs right at us and that's what they did," said Marlboro County head coach Dean Boyd.
"On offense, we had to play error-free and match them score for score. Instead, we regressed to how we were playing earlier in the season, with penalties and turnovers," he said.
The Bulldogs got off to a great start, taking advantage of a Bruin miscue. O-W fumbled on their second play from scrimmage and Bulldog defensive lineman Demareon Bingham recovered at the 28 yard line.
A screen pass to Iyon Williams and sweep by Dylven Covington moved the ball to the 2. From there, offensive guard-turned-quarterback Eric Blair bulldozed into the endzone.
Orangeburg turned it over again on the ensuing drive. After the Bruins moved into Marlboro County territory, Iyon Williams picked off an O-W pass and returned it to the MC 42.
Marlboro County moved into Bruin territory before a fumble on a completed pass prevented the Bulldogs from adding to their lead.
O-W went to the ground game to move 69 yards in seven plays to tie the score. Theo Johnson, the Bruins' tailback, scored from 1 yard out, the first of his four TDs.
The Bruins' next drive went 95 yards, capped by a 40-yard run by quarterback Jasaun Grainger. The extra point kick failed, leaving the Bruins with a 13-7 lead.
After Marlboro turned it over on downs at the OW 35, the Bruins marched for a third consecutive TD. Again Johnson hammered it into the endzone, this time from 2 yards out. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Myrone Williams got the Bulldogs back on the scoreboard before the half, running in from 6 yards out from the "wildcat" formation.
Marlboro County was the beneficiary of another Bruin miscue on the second play of the third quarter.
A pass from Grainger to Johnson in the backfield landed in the grass incomplete. Alertly, Iyon Williams picked up the ball after the referee did not blow a whistle. Williams returned the backwards pass 27 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Unfortunately, that was the high-water mark for the Bulldogs. O-W pounded the Bulldogs for scoring drives of 61 and 77 yards to take a 39-26 lead into the final 7:25 of the game.
An interception at the Bruins' 5-yard line ended one Marlboro County threat. A fumble on a punt return moments later sealed the Bulldogs' fate.
After taking over in Bulldog territory, Johnson capped his big night with a 12-yard run.
Marlboro County got a final touchdown of the season on an 8-yard pass from Jacob Evers to Myrone Williams with 39.8 seconds left in the game.
"I hate it for our guys that we didn't go out with our best performance. OW has a good team and their offense scheme is something that causes us fits. It was just a tough match-up for us," said Boyd.
"Still, I'm very proud of this team. They worked as hard as any team I have coached to get better every week and were fun to be around," said Boyd.
"For the seniors, that will serve them as they go on to other things. Hopefully, it will be a springboard for our returning players for bigger things next year," he concluded.
The Bulldogs finish the season with a 5-6 overall record, 3-1 in Region 7-4A. They were the region co-champions.
Orangeburg Wilkerson will face Berkeley on the road in the second round of the playoffs this Friday.