WILLIAMSTON — The Pickens Blue Flame are making a late season surge toward the playoffs and helped their own cause with a big region win on the road, handling the Palmetto Mustangs (5-4, 2-4) by a final of 48-7.
It was a balanced attack which led the Blue Flame (4-5, 3-3) to the victory, moving the ball successfully through the air and on the ground while the defense played shutdown football with a Mustangs offense that had seen great success in the 2015 season.
Brandon Batson kicked off the scoring for Pickens, breaking a 27-yard TD on the ground. Tanner Stegall would boost the Pickens offense in the first quarter as well, finding Kirkland Gillespie for a 37-yard TD pass and a 14-0 lead after the game’s opening quarter of play. Pickens would not stop there.
In the second Gunner Covey broke free of the defense and 44 yards later waltzed into the endzone. Stegall would repeat the first quarter and connect with Isaiah Ferguson through the air to extend the Pickens lead to 28-0 at the half. Palmetto would make overtures in the third, but the game was never in doubt.
The Mustangs’ Daron Williford found paydirt from the three yard line, cutting the Pickens lead to 28-7, but that was as close as Palmetto would get. Stegall and Freguson connected in response to the Palmetto score and pushed the lead to 28 once again, 35-7.
Palmetto would threaten once more, driving to the Pickens goal line before fumbling the ball away. The fumble was just one of five turnovers forced by the Pickens defense including four interceptions, including three straight to shut down the Palmetto offense following the goal line fumble.
To finish off the game, Batson would find the endzone once more and connect with Jamal Blythe as well, extending the lead to its final score of 48-7.
Pickens will host Belton-Honea Path on Oct. 30 with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Blue Flame control their own playoff destiny and need a win over the Bears, and a bit of help across the region to clinch a spot in the AAA playoffs.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.