Whale Branch erased an early 18-point deficit to rally for a 30-27 win over visiting Buford on Friday in the first round of the SCHSL Class 2A playoffs.
The Yellow Jackets stung the Warriors with two quick touchdown drives and answered the first of Jhonatan Diaz’s three field goals with another score for a 21-3 advantage.
Whale Branch snapped out of its slow start at that point, as Irvin Mulligan broke a 64-yard touchdown run and capped another scoring drive with a 2-yard plunge to pull the Warriors within 21-16. C.J. Brown’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Jamel Moultrie and Moultrie’s 2-point conversion run gave Whale Branch a 24-21 halftime lead.
Diaz’s second field goal made it 27-21, but the Yellow Jackets put together a touchdown drive to pull even early in the fourth quarter. Diaz struck again with 4:47 left, though, booting his third field goal of the evening, and the Warriors’ defense came up with a stop thanks to a pass break-up by Jordan Reeves that thwarted a potential game-winning touchdown pass.
The Warriors (6-4) have won six straight heading into a second-round matchup at home against Batesburg-Leesville, which beat Mullins 41-18 on Friday.