HSFB 2022: Red Devils hold off Gators in ‘Last Battle’ of Hampton rivals

The “Last Battle” lived up to its title. The final cross-county rivalry game between the Wade Hampton Red Devils and the Estill Gators before the teams consolidate next season surpassed all expectations with a historic game that saw the Gators put up their best fight in recent memory before the Red Devils escaped with a 29-26 victory and a new level of respect for their rivals who will become teammates next fall.

After the threat of storms loomed over the area for a majority of the day, the clouds parted just before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff, making for a perfect night for high school football in the Lowco.  Prior to Wade Hampton’s first offensive play, Estill’s defensive encroachment penalty was a sign of things to come as the Gators tallied 10 penalties totaling 75 yards, but even with penalties causing problems, the Gators were still able to keep the game close through its entirety. 

 Wade Hampton’s first drive ended in a blocked punt, but the Gators were not able to capitalize on the Red Devil mistake. After exchanging punts, Estill put together an impressive drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Jamil Bobean, who rolled up 102 yards and two TDs on 14 carries, and the Gators added the two-point conversion for an early 8-0 lead. 

Wade Hampton answered immediately, as Zion Dobson jumpstrated his big night with a 65-yard touchdown on the ensuing kickoff and Cam Clackum cut the deficit to 8-7.  The story of the first half was the Gator’s dominance of the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense, as they seemed to be able to dictate positioning between the tackles and stay in the game. The teams exchanged another pair of touchdowns leading to the final play of the half, when Wade Hampton executed a perfect hook and lateral to the wide side of the field, ending in a 60-yard scoring sprint by Dobson, who finished with 170 total yards (110 rushing) and three TDs, and giving the Red Devils a 22-14 halftime lead.  

The second half was hard fought with each team continuing to find success moving the ball down the field.  One of the highlights of Estill’s night was quarterback Xaviar Garvin’s performance. The junior ended the night 9-of-12 for 99 yards and two TDs passing and rushed for 35 yards on 16 carries with another TD, and he notched an interception on defense.  

Dobson capped his big night with a 1-yard TD run to put the Red Devils up by two scores, but the Gators drove down the field, scoring with less than four minutes on the clock. A penalty on a successful two-point try kept it a three-point game, and the Red Devils covered the onside kick and sealed the win with one more first down, claiming a hard-fought victory in one last battle with their future brothers.

With the talent on both sides of the field, the new Hampton County Hurricanes are sure to be a force to be reckoned with starting next season.

By J. Addison Jarrell

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