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  • Gilbert football
  • Irmo Whiteside
    (THOMAS GRANT JR. | CHRONICLE) Gilbert quarterback Izayah Whiteside
  • Itmo entrance
    (THOMAS GRANT JR. | CHRONICLE) Irmo High School prior to their game entrance.
  • Irmo Starkes
    (THOMAS GRANT JR. | CHRONICLE) Irmo's Dedrick Starkes after the 1st of his 2 touchdown runs.
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  • Gunter Gilbert
    (PHOTO | WWW.PALMETTOSPORTSIMAGING.COM) Gilbert's Gage Gunter with the touchdown catch.
  • Gilbert Leaphart
    (PHOTO | WWW.PALMETTOSPORTSIMAGING.COM) Gilbert head coach Chad Leaphart
  • Gilbert celebration
    (PHOTO | WWW.PALMETTOSPORTSIMAGING.COM) The Gilbert football team following the 37-6 win over Dillon.

HEADED TO THE STATE SEMIFINALS - Gilbert, Dutch Fork, Gray Collegiate advance with victories

Seasons end for Irmo, River Bluff and Pelion

For the 1st time in 28 years, the Gilbert High School football team is headed to the Lower State finals.

The Indians rolled to a 37-6 victory over Class 3A state power Dillon Friday at Leonard Price Field. 

In avenging 2 straight home playoff losses to the Wildcats, Gilbert (8-0) held them to 207 total yards and forced 2 turnovers. 

Offensively, quarterback Izayah Whiteside threw for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for another and running back Colton Mason rushed for 230 yards to leads the Indians. 

Our kids believe and they played lights out in all phases of the game tonight,” Gilbert head coach Chad Leaphart said. “Our kids wanted this game an awful lot... they have played with a chip on the shoulder all year.”

Gilbert took a 2-0 lead in the 1st quarter after Dillon quarterback Jack Grider was sacked in the endzone for a safety. 

A 12-yard touchdown run by Jaden-Allen Hendrix extended the Indians’ lead to 9-0. 

Dillon answered back with an 18-yard touchdown run by Grider with 2:12 left in the 1st quarter.

Grider finished with 132 passing yards and an interception.

It was all Gilbert the rest of the way. Whiteside found Whiteside for a 36-yard touchdown with 6:44 left in the 2nd quarter to put the Indians up 16-6 going into the lockerroom.

With the defense holding Dillon at bay, Gilbert pulled away as Whiteside scored on a 1-yard run in the 3rd quarter and threw 2 touchdown passes in the 4th to seal the victory.

This is Gilbert’s 1st trip to the state semifinals since 1992 under head coach Marty Woolbright. The Indians will head to Zemp Stadium to face Camden (8-0), who advanced after its game with Oceanside Collegiate at The Citadel was cancelled after the Landsharks reported covid-19 cases.

Camden is going to be a tough game,” Leaphart said. “They have a great team and our guys will have to be at their best.”

It's the 1st ever meeting between the Indians and Bulldogs. The winner will face either Daniel or Wren in the state final.


Dutch Fork 63, Carolina Forest 42

For the 2nd straight year, the Silver Foxes and Panthers faced each other in the Class 5A Lower State playoffs.

The Panthers more than held their own against the defending 4-time state champions. They posted the most points and total yards (575) against Dutch Fork since Dorman with current South Carolina quarterback Collin Hill in a 49-19 win in the 2015 playoffs.

Much like last season, Dutch Fork’s quest for another championship was boosted by a potent rushing attack. A year after Jonathan Hall set a school record with 6 rushing touchdowns in the Lower State final win over Carolina Forest, quarterback Will Taylor rushed for 5 scores and 224 yards in the victory.

The 1st half featured 4 ties as the 2 teams exchanged touchdowns. The Panthers’ Kyle Watkins answered Taylor’s scores with 3 rushing touchdowns of 74, 6 and 38 yards and a 32-yard touchdown pass to DJ Admil. 

With the score tied at 28-28, Taylor found Elijah Spencer with a 55-yard touchdown pass with 3 seconds left to put Dutch Fork ahead 35-28 at halfitme.

A 47-yard touchdown run by Taylor was the lone score of the 3rd quarter. The kick failed, leaving the Silver Foxes up 41-28.

In the 4th quarter, Trace Danley returned a fumble 95 yards to extend the lead to 49-28 after the 2-point conversion. Watkins added 2 more scores and Jarvis Green and Marcus Taylor added 2 rushing scores for Dutch Fork (8-0).

It was the 48th consecutive game without a loss, the 47th straight in-state win and 22nd consecutive post-season victory for the Silver Foxes. 

Standing in the way of a 5th straight trip to the state finals is Sumter, which defeated River Bluff 25-13 at home. 

The winner will face either TL Hanna or Northwestern in the state final.


Gray Collegiate 33, Christ Church 0 

For the 2nd straight year, the War Eagles are headed to the Class 2A Upper State finals to face top-ranked Abbeville.

Gray Collegiate (8-0) lost 38-35 to the Panthers last year to the Panthers.

The winner will face either Marion or Daniel in the state final


Catawba Ridge 41, Irmo 21

The Yellow Jackets’ 1st playoff home game since 2012 was spoiled by the visiting Copperheads Friday night.

Quarterback Kaegan Hager threw 3 touchdowns, 2 to Quinten Jackson, and rushed for another score for Catawba Ridge. Jackson also accounted for 2 interceptions as the Copperheads, forced 4 Irmo turnovers. This included a interception return for a touchdown by Jacobie Henderson. 

Deedrick Starkes rushed for 2 touchdowns and Jayon Chambers added a 50-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.

Catawba Ridge will face AC Flora at Memorial Stadium for the Class 4A Upper State title. The winner will face either North Myrtle Beach or Myrtle Beach in the state final.


Sumter 25, River Bluff 13

The Gamecocks forced 2 turnovers and built an early lead to hold off the Gators.

Sumter (8-0) jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the 2nd quarter as quarterback Hayden Vasquez threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Lodanine Redwood and Zyeir Gamble recovered a Riley Myers' fumble.

River Bluff (5-2) made it 13-7 after Jackson Stone found Apollos Cook from 17 yards. The 3rd quarter opened with Nathan Harris-Waynick scoring on a 42-yard run to extend Sumter's lead to 19-7.

The Gators answered with a 6-yard touchdown pass by Stone to Toriaun Leaphart. The 2-point conversion failed and River Bluff trailed 19-13 entering the 4th quarter.

Sumter added a 9-yard touchdown run by Keion Brown to close out the scoring in the 4th quarter. 


Andrews 28, Pelion 19

A 2nd half comeback was not enough for the Panthers, whose most successful season in 14 years ended in the 2nd round of the Class 2A Lower State playoffs.

Down 28-0 in the 3rd quarter, Pelion scored on a touchdown run by Jacob Osmanski. Azman James added 2 more touchdowns in the 2nd half for Pelion (4-3). 


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