Thursday night, Sept. 30, at Booster Stadium, the Williston JV Red Devils faced the Newberry Panthers JV football team.
Make no mistake, Newberry is a very good team. But the Red Devils pulled out the win 36-28, raising their record to 2-1, only getting to count five of their 10 touchdowns scored.
True, it was just a JV game, but the officials were surely JV as well.
Newberry took the opening kickoff and found paydirt in just five plays. The two-point conversion was good and the Panthers found themselves up 8-0.
The Red Devils took the ensuing kickoff and marched to the Newberry 6-yard line. On the next play the Red Devils fumbled the ball into the end zone and recovered. The ball was placed at the one yard line. On the next play quarterback Justin Forsythe lunged forward on a QB keeper. The ball was clearly in the end zone when the players unpiled, but was spotted at the 3-inch line. Two fumbles and a holding call as Fred Burns dashed into the end zone, put the ball back at the 12-yard line with a fourth down coming up.
The Panthers intercepted a pass attempted by the Red Devils on fourth down.
Twice the Red Devils scored, and twice they were denied points. Once by a holding penalty, and once by a terrible spot of the football.
The first quarter ended as Newberry was held to a fourth down on their second drive of the game. The Red Devil defense held and took over on downs.
Burns took the ball in again from 10 yards out following another Red Devil drive and with the two-point conversion run also by Burns, the game was tied at 8-8.
The Red Devils held the Panthers, taking over at their own 6-yard line with 3:03 remaining in the first half. This is when things got real interesting.
Moving the ball out to the 30-yard line on a run by Dequavious White, Burns took a handoff and raced 70 yards for a Red Devil touchdown. This one was called back for a very late flag for a block-in-the-back call. The Red Devils are now back at their 20-yard line. The very next play, White scampered 80 yards for a touchdown, only to have this one called back for a holding penalty. Now at their own 10-yard line with a first down and forever, Burns again squirted through the Newberry defense for a 90-yard touchdown run. Another flag called this one back on a spot foul, placing the ball at the Newberry 29-yard line. But another dead ball personal foul penalty against the Red Devils put the ball back to the Newberry 44-yard line. Three touchdowns in three plays and no points for the Red Devils.
With 1:20 left in the first half, Burns skirted around the left end and scored again. Everyone looked for a flag or flags, but none were found. With Forsythe running in the two-point conversion the Red Devils took a 16-8 lead. Six touchdowns scored, but just two were on the scoreboard.
The Newberry Coach met his team yelling as they were coming off the field following the three touchdowns in three plays for the Red Devils. “You should all be embarrassed”
the coach yelled at his team.
The Red Devils held the Panthers, sacked the quarterback and recovered his fumble, with just 20 seconds remaining in the first half. White took the hand off and raced 45 yards into the end zone for another Red Devil score, their seventh of the first half, only to have this one called back by another Red Devil penalty. Time ran out on a first half that saw a 16-8 Red Devil lead.
The Red Devils took the second half kickoff and Dillon Moody returned the ball to the Newberry 30-yard line. Several plays later White went in from the 7-yard line as everyone looked for flags again. None were found and the extra point kick was good by
Jared McCoy, giving the Red Devils a 23-8 lead. Brandon Quinn had set up the ball at the 7-yard line following a run of 23 yards.
Newberry scored their second touchdown of the game and following a Red Devil penalty for too many men on the field, Newberry converted its two-point conversion, pulling the score to 23-16.
The Panthers were driving for the possible go-ahead score when they fumbled the ball at the Red Devil 7-yard line.
The Red Devils took over and drove the ball down to the Newberry 8-yard line behind some nifty running by Quinn and White as the third quarter ended.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Keith Neal crashed into the end zone caring several Panthers with him. No flags again, but the Panthers blocked the extra point kick. The Red Devils now led, 29-16.
With just over nine minutes showing on the clock, Newberry completed a 27-yard pass for a touchdown. The two-point try was stuffed by the Red Devil defense. The Panthers had pulled the game to a 29-22 score.
Newberry tried an on-side kick off following another Red Devil penalty, but the ball squirted side ways and failed to go 10 yards before going out of bounds. The Red Devils took over at the 50-yard line with just over 8 minutes to play in the game.
The Red Devils drove to the Panther 11-yard line on nifty runs by Quinn, White, and Forsythe. Neal, the big powerful fullback stepped into the end zone untouched for the 11-yard touchdown with 4:20 showing on the game clock. This time the McCoy kick was good as the Red Devils took a 36-22 lead.
To the Panthers’ credit they didn’t quit. They took the kick off and scored a touchdown with 2:29 left in the game. Again the Red Devil defense stuffed the two-point try as the score remained Red Devils 36, Panthers 28.
The Red Devils were able to run the clock out taking a knee on the last two snaps.
Coach Jim Smith gathered his team after the game and congratulated them, saying they got better this week. Then Smith reminded his team that you’re only as good as your last game.
“Our effort was good the entire game,” Smith said.
The Red Devil JV plays its last home game of the season Thursday, Oct. 7, hosting Keystone Heights. Game time is 7 p.m.