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Irmo handles Brookland-Cayce in 28-14 road win

Yellow Jackets put infamous Dutch Fork game behind them with strong rushing, defense.

Cayce, SC (James Bowers) - Everyone associated with the Irmo High School football program wants to forget the night of August 31, 2018. Not only did the Jackets suffer a beatdown at the hands of archrival Dutch Fork, but a false report of gunfire stemming from a nearby altercation created a panic that caused the game to be cut short before completion. This was a moment that will be forever etched in the minds of the students and community members present.

Coach Reggie Kennedy and his squad were anxious to put the game and the surrounding events behind them, and that they did on September 7, 2018, with a 28-14 whipping of the Brookland-Cayce Bearcats on their home turf. Kennedy was pleased with his players’ effort. “I told the kids I wanted to see what kind of character we had, and they responded well,” Kennedy said. “We had a great week at practice, and it all paid off. We learned a whole lot from our loss at Dutch Fork last week and learned a whole lot about our kids tonight.”

The game was the first contest between the Bearcats and Yellow Jackets in nearly a quarter-century. The most recent Irmo-B-C battle was played on September 15,1995 and ended in a 44-0 triumph for Jackets at W.C. Hawkins Stadium. The 2018 edition of the game was marked by a dominant rushing performance on the part of the visiting IHS squad whose backs picked up 398 yards against B-C’s defense. The Jacket defense did its fair share of bending, Charipa had nearly 300 yards passing while receivers Will Way and Jo Pradubursi both exceeded the 100 yard receiving mark, but they never broke. Charipa was intercepted three times while only allowing two scores. QB John Ragin had a solid passing performance, completing 11 of his 15 throws for 136 yards and one pick.

Irmo got on the board first in the 1st quarter when Jansen McGahee found the end zone from 17 yards away. The Jackets extended their lead when Omarion Dolleson sprinted for a 51-yard touchdown, and McGahee added another TD with less than a minute remaining in the half to give IHS a 21-0 lead at the half. In the third quarter, things got a bit chippy. B-C went on a long drive aided by Charipa’s effective passing, but the effort was marred by a personal foul which nearly caused members of the two squads to come to blows. More tension came later in the series when a deterred Jackets player shoved a B-C offensive lineman, resulting in another near-brawl and the ejection of the offending Irmo defender. Relations between B-C and Irmo were better for the rest of the game as opposing players were seen helping each other to their feet after tackles. That long drive ended with the first Bearcat score of the game when Pradubursi took it in from two yards out. A Jayon Chambers TD extended the jacket lead to 28-7 in the fourth. Reed Charpia scored for B-C on a seven-yard keeper to make it 28-14 with 4:48 left, but Irmo held for a decisive victory.

The Jackets did not come out unscathed. Jansen McGahee had another occurrence of a high ankle sprain he had suffered earlier in the season during the third quarter. Coach Reggie Kennedy says McGahee’s situation is one of, “wait and see.” RB Kendrell Flowers is also set to return from a high ankle sprain of his own next week according to published reports. The 2-3 Yellow Jackets host River Bluff at home next week. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm at W.C. Hawkins Stadium.

The B-C Bearcats will have a chance to regroup with an open date on September 14. Coach Rusty Charpia and company get back to action on September 21, when the Newberry Bulldogs come to town.

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