After a sloppy showing in an opening win, the Whale Branch Warriors went back to work. And it showed Friday night.
Jakhi Pusha threw three touchdown passes, JaDarius Garrett found the end zone three times, and Davon Evans added two second-half TDs to complement another dominant defensive effort as the Warriors rolled to a 48-14 home win over Ridgeland.
Whale Branch found little running room early, as the Jaguars stacked the box and dared Pusha to beat them after a shaky performance in a 19-8 win over North Charleston a week earlier, and the senior obliged, airing one out to a streaking Garrett for the first score of the game and connecting on another deep ball hauled in by a diving Keith Chisholm to set up a short TD run from Garrett for a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Warriors’ ferocious defense got the ball back with a takeaway, and Alonzo Allen strolled in untouched from the 10 a play later. Then Pusha and Garrett hooked up for their third TD in two weeks to make it 28-0.
Jayvon Grant stopped the bleeding momentarily and electrified the Ridgeland crowd by taking the ensuing kickoff to the house, but Pusha had one more punch before halftime, dropping a dime on Chisholm after he beat his man up the left sideline.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Evans made a strong audition for more carries if senior Clifton Major’s knee injury is as serious as feared, scoring on the ground and catching Pusha’s fourth TD pass of the night. Jaquise Johnson scored on the ground for the Jags, marking the first offensive touchdown the Warriors have allowed through two games.
Whale Branch (2-0) will have to be in top form on both sides of the ball again Friday when the fourth-ranked Warriors travel to No. 7 Baptist Hill for a showdown of former region rivals and Class 1A Lower State title contenders.
The Jaguars (0-3) will be back home in their renovated stadium Friday, taking on a May River team that is also looking for its first win.
By Justin Jarrett / LowcoSports@gmail.com
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