WHS football: Streak ends with 36-31 homecoming loss
By Roger Greene
Waccamaw got the quick start it was looking for Friday against visiting Mullins. Unfortunately for the Warriors, the balance of the game went the Auctioneers' way in a 36-31 victory.
Waccamaw quarterback Jalen Simmons fired four touchdown passes on the night, a pair of those coming in the opening quarter to Rob Ferraro to give the Warriors (4-2, 0-1 Region VIII-AA) a 13-8 advantage after the first 12 minutes.
The Aucs (3-3, 1-0) rallied in the second quarter behind receiver Keon Swinton, who hauled in a pair of touchdown strikes from quarterback Ryan Gore that put Mullins in front 24-13 at the break.
Swinton's second touchdown catch was particularly damaging, as he hauled in a 25-yard pass from Gore on a fourth down attempt in the final seconds of the first half.
"That really hurt," Waccamaw coach Tyronne Davis said. "We were looking at maybe being down three at halftime and they hit us with that touchdown."
Running back Justin Hamilton contributed three scoring runs for Mullins. He got the Aucs on the board in the first quarter from 44 yards out and his 22-yard jaunt lifted them into a 30-19 lead headed into the final quarter.
Hamilton completed his trifecta in the fourth quarter with a 19-yard dash that provided Mullins with an 11-point advantage with just over three minutes remaining in the contest.
"At times, we were able to get some big stops," Davis said. "At others, it seemed like we had a hard time tackling."
Simmons connected with Jack Monroe on two touchdown strikes in the fourth quarter. The first of those was a 48-yarder that pulled Waccamaw within 30-25 with close to six minutes remaining.
With roughly a minute and a half showing on the clock, Simmons found Monroe from 6-yards away, bringing Waccamaw back to within five at 36-31.
However, that would be the final as Mullins recovered Waccamaw's ensuing onside kick attempt. And, after some adventurous moments due to penalties and ball carriers running out of bounds, the Aucs were finally able to drain the clock and secure the victory.
The loss was also costly for the Warriors in terms of injuries. Backs Rob Ferraro and Tyriq Grant were forced from the game with leg ailments. Fellow back Justin Holmes was also gimpy and although his injury did not force him from the game entirely, his usual workload was reduced.
"We'll have to see where we are with those things," Davis said. "Obviously, we're hoping it's nothing serious and all of those guys will be back next week. We'll assess that and go back to work."