Bluffton put together a game-winning touchdown drive and a defensive stop in the final minutes to escape with a 22-21 win over visiting Hanahan on Friday in the first round of the SCHSL Class 3A playoffs.
Hunter Eldridge threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Patterson to give the Bobcats the lead with 1:11 left, and the defense capped a great performance with a fourth-down stop to seal the win.
Richard Jenkins led the defensive effort for the Bobcats with two interceptions and a 58-yard fumble return touchdown to open the scoring.
Hanahan answered with two touchdown runs from Quincy Mitchell to take a 12-7 lead early in the second half. The teams traded field goals to make it 15-10 Hawks before Eldridge connected with I’Kiem Jefferson for a 36-yard touchdown pass to put the Bobcats ahead 16-15.
Mitchell’s third touchdown run of the night was a 16-yard scamper to put the Hawks back in front with 5:32 left, but Eldridge and Patterson hooked up to convert a fourth-and-4 and Hanahan jumped offside on another fourth-and-4 to set up the go-ahead scoring connection between Eldridge and Patterson on yet another fourth-down play.
The Bobcats (7-3) face a tough test in the second round, traveling to face 11-0 Gilbert, which routed Aynor 57-16 on Friday.