GREER – Chase Byrd knew the ball was coming, and he knew he had to go make a play.
On third down, on their second good scoring chance in as many drives, he made it happen.
Byrd gathered in a short pass over the middle from Chris Hall, broke away from a defender, made another guy miss, and weaved his way 34 yards for a score that gave Greer the lead for good in a 28-14 win over Eastside.
“I knew we were going to have to fight until the end,” Byrd said. “It was a rough game. I made some mistakes myself, but I told the guys I was going to get it back. When I knew the ball was coming to me on third down, I knew I had to end the game right there. I just made sure there were no second-guesses.”
Byrd’s big play was his second in as many drives in a wild fourth quarter, as his diving, 38-yard catch set Greer up at the Eastside 10-yard line one drive earlier. That drive, though, was snuffed out by Andrew Moore’s interception right at the goal line. Greer’s defense gave up one big gain to Kalvin Banks, but stiffened and forced a punt, setting up Byrd’s huge catch-and-run.
“I knew I had to get one,” Byrd said. “I wasn’t gonna let my team down.”
The Yellow Jackets found themselves in a battle with Eastside down the stretch, and Greer coach Will Young credited the Eagles with a tough performance.
“They played at a different level tonight than we’ve seen them at,” he said. “They played really hard tonight. And we got a little lucky. Our playmakers eventually made plays. Chase made a big play. LaDainnian made a couple plays. And the defensive backs played pretty well.”
It couldn’t have started much better for Greer. The Yellow Jackets’ first three plays from scrimmage were a 73-yard touchdown from LaDainnian Martin, a 17-yard completion, and a 53-yard touchdown from QB Chris Hall. It was 14-0 midway through the first quarter with Greer having possessed the ball for 51 seconds.
But then it stalled. Eastside’s Peyton Schrader threw a TD to Baron Leonard to make it 14-6, then tied the game on a touchdown run of his own, followed by a two-point conversion by Kalvin Banks. Both scoring drives were set up by long completions to Fin Hyde.
It stayed tied until Byrd’s big play in the fourth quarter. Eastside had one last, good look, driving deep into Greer territory in the game’s final three minutes. But Darius Johnson grabbed one of the Yellow Jackets’ four interceptions of the night on a diving catch off a tipped ball at the Greer 18. Martin made short work of an 82-yard drive, going 52 on his first carry and for a 30-yard touchdown on his second, putting him at 216 yards on the night and putting the game away.