Darlington v. Mount de Sales Cavaliers


The varsity football team took on the Mount de Sales Cavaliers in the first round of the state playoffs on Friday, Nov. 10.


At the end of the first quarter, both teams remained scoreless following a missed field goal attempt by Mount de Sales and both defenses working hard to prevent any gain.


Big defensive tackles by juniors Ezra Barnette and Tommy Atha kept the Cavaliers out of the end zone, forcing another field goal attempt. This time the attempt was good, making the score 3-0 midway through the second quarter.


Darlington fought back hard with two back-to-back 20-yard carries by senior running-back Tijai Whatley, getting the Tigers well within scoring distance. A six-yard touchdown run by Whatley upped the score 6-3 after a missed extra point attempt.


Tigers’ defense locked down the Cavaliers following the play, recovering a forced fumble after defensive plays by junior Cam Watson and sophomore Kolin Rogers. Darlington offense ended the first half with a touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Griffin Brewster, making the score 13-3.


The Tigers began the second half with a bang, forcing another fumble on the kickoff with Darlington recovering the ball deep within Cavalier’s territory. Another touchdown run by Whatley made the score 19-3 following another missed extra point attempt.


Defensive stops including tackles for loss by Watson and senior Karl Swiger forced Mount de Sales to punt deep in their own territory.


“We knew headed into this game that they were a run-heavy team, so we prepared all week to stop it. Coach Hunt put a big emphasis about putting their quarterback on the ground early and I think that was a game changer,” Watson said.


Tigers’ offense kept the tempo up and going with a touchdown reception by Swiger, increasing Darlington’s lead to 26-3.


A quarterback sack by senior Jacob Hunt and sophomore Tate Ratledge pressured the Cavaliers into attempting a fake punt, but defense stopped the play and recovered the ball. A strong offensive drive by Rogers got Darlington well within scoring distance with seconds to go, but the Tigers took a knee to win the game.


Darlington will travel to Augusta on Friday, Nov. 17, to take on the Aquinas Fightin’ Irish in the second round of the Division A state playoffs.


“At this point in the year, we have an established practice plan that is routine for the players. We continue to follow the plan in place and work to improve on the details of the skills that will make us successful,” Coach Brent Bell said. “For us, this is just another game. The focus has always been on us – that if we do what we can to best of our ability, everything else will take care of itself. There’s nothing different to the approach, we just keep doing what we do.”