We watched both teams enter Sirrine Stadium almost an hour before the game was set to start. The Gaffney contingent seemed pretty relaxed while the Red Raiders didn't talk a whole lot and went about their business during warmups. As kickoff came closer and closer both teams amped up and the Red Raiders appeared to have some swagger about them while the Indians' quiet confidence was also evident.
Greenville received the ball initially and stalled mightily on their first drive. However a botched punt return by Gaffney gave them great field position. Greenville QB Matt Roberts settled down somewhat and WR Chris Wallace would play both wide receiver and some quarterback on the night. Their initial score was on a keeper by Wallace on a 2 yard run to make it 7-0.
The Greenville defense held strong throughout the first half as Gaffney didn't manage a first down to our recollection until late in the second quarter. At the half the score remained Greenville 7-0.
We expected Gaffney to come out with a vengeance in the second half and things got off to a quick start for them as they connected on a long pass play to liven up the Gaffney faithful. The Red Raider defense responded again however coming up with another turnover.
Greenville pulled off a fake punt with Chris Wallace taking the snap and faking a run to the right side only to throw it back across the field to WR Tony Curtis who weaved through the Gaffney defense 46 yards for their second touchdown of the night. That play seemed to push Greenville's momentum over the top and they appeared to have the defending state champions by the throat at that point.
Greenville WR Chris Hall would add the Red Raiders' final score on a 19 yard TD catch. The ever resilient Indians though made things somewhat interesting late in the fourth quarter after being manhandled in most areas of the game. If there's one thing the Indians have always shown is the heart of a champion and they made things anxious for the Red Raider fans as they came up with two touchdowns late. In the end they ran out of time as the Red Raider faithful charged the field and celebrated with their players and coaches in what has to be one of their biggest wins in school history. Afterwards we saw AD Russ Howard and head coach Jim Sosebee congratulate one another on the team's achievement. Sosebee though had this to say afterwards. "Celebrate tonight guys but come back ready to work."
The Indians continued to turn the ball over just as they did last week and in the end it was a huge part of their demise versus the Red Raiders. Take nothing away from the Red Raider defense though as they held Gaffney scoreless until late in the fourth quarter. Their defensive line lead by Arterio Arnold helped to shut down the vaunted Gaffney rushing attack keeping them to just 45 yards rushing.
The victory pushes Greenville's record to 2-0 on the young season while Gaffney falls to 1-1. Be sure to check out our exclusive photo galleries of Friday night's action from Sirrine Stadium.