Gray Collegiate dominates Pelion to advance in 2A playoffs

Posted 11/5/23

The Gray Collegiate War Eagles dominated every aspect of the game in the team’s 62-0 victory over the Pelion Panthers in the opening round of the South Carolina High School League 2A state tournament. 

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Gray Collegiate dominates Pelion to advance in 2A playoffs


The Gray Collegiate War Eagles dominated every aspect of the game in the team’s 62-0 victory over the Pelion Panthers in the opening round of the South Carolina High School League 2A state tournament. 

Caleb Ford rushed for four touchdowns and more than 100 yards for the offense, while Michael Boulware snagged two interceptions, including a pick-six, for the defense in a game the War Eagles controlled from start to finish. 

Gray Collegiate’s offense combined for over 300 yards, while its defense held the Panthers to under 50 yards for the entire game. Pelion failed to sustain drives and keep their offense on the field, which eventually gassed out its defense. 

The War Eagles won the battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage. This translated to a booming run game from Gray and a struggling one from Pelion. 

“That’s where games are won,” Gray head coach Adam Holmes said. “Caleb Ford ran the football well up front, offensive line did a great job.”

Ford credited his success on the ground to the physical play of the offensive line. 

“It was great blocking by my line,” Ford said. “Great execution.”

Gray received the opening kickoff and returned the ball to just outside midfield. The War Eagles struck fast, scoring a touchdown in the opening minute of the game. Quarterback Tyler Waller connected with Jamarious Lockett for a 34-yard touchdown. 

Pelion took its first drive near the 50-yard line and refused to take the offense off the field after failing to convert on a third and four. The team’s early gamble backfired after quarterback Logan Sharpe got sacked for a big loss.

Gray scored its second touchdown three plays later off of a two-yard rush from Blaine Redmond. 

After going three and out on their next drive, the Pelion defense made a big play by picking off Waller in the endzone to stop a promising War Eagle drive. But just two plays later, Boulware got his first pick. 

“He's still young, so he's still growing and maturing,” Holmes said. “The thing about Michael, what he has, he has a motor about himself. He never gives up on a play, and you can see that by the plays he made tonight.” 

Ford rushed for the next two Gray touchdowns. The first was on the play following the interception from 20-yards. The second came on the next drive from two yards to put the War Eagles up 28-0.

Dre’von Dopson subbed in at quarterback in the third quarter and Gray added three touchdowns to expand its lead to 49 points. 

“I’m proud of the way they came out in the second half and kind of pushed them,” Holmes said. “We asked them to go out there and finish this ball game the right way. Had some stupid penalties in the first half. They kind of kept us from making some scoring drives, but just great to see our guys go out there and just battle again.”

Ford ran in his third consecutive touchdown to begin the half for the War Eagles offense. Exactly one minute later, Boulware scored the pick-six after a 23-yard return.

“I saw the quarterback running to the outside to throw and he was forcing it so I picked it off,” Boulware said. 

Ford scored his last touchdown of the game on an 11-yard rush where he powered through defenders to close the third quarter for Gray’s offense.

The fourth quarter sped by since the game was using a running clock, but Gray still managed to add two more touchdowns. This time from its backups. 

On the first play with the third-string quarterback on the field, Junior Gonzalez found Connor Holmes for a touchdown. 

Zay Oher scored the last touchdown on the game’s final play with a 20-yard run. 

The win puts Gray in the second round where they were eliminated in last season's tournament. Holmes and the team are looking for redemption and a chance to get back to the state championship after winning the program’s first title in 2021. 

Pelion finishes its season with a (3-8) record, but an appearance in the state tournament is an improvement after failing to make the cut last year.

The next game for Gray will be a battle of Eagles as the team hosts the Chesnee Eagles in the second round. Chesnee defeated fellow Lexington County team Batesburg-Leesville, 21-10, Friday night.

Holmes said there are some things he wants to see his team tweak before then.

“We just got to be a little bit sharper,” Holmes said. “We had a couple dumb penalties out there that really kind of hurt us. They can hurt us in a big-time situation.”

Other scores from around Lexington County

Dutch Fork: 56, Boiling Springs: 7

Gaffney: 47, Lexington: 14

White Knoll: 28, Cane Bay: 0

Stratford 28, Chapin 27

Summerville: 28, River Bluff: 3

Westside: 42, Airport: 0

Irmo: 85, Colleton County: 0

Brookland-Cayce: 42, Lake City: 20

Gilbert: 49, Darlington: 12

Chesnee: 21, Batesburg-Leesville: 10 

Northside Christian 33, Colleton Prep 28

Second round matchups 

Dutch Fork at T.L. Hannah 

Fort Dorchester at White Knoll

Myrtle Beach at Irmo

Philip Simmons at Brookland-Cayce

Gilbert at Hanahan

Northside Christian at Bethesda Academy


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