October 23, 2015
Ridgeland, South Carolina
Friday Night Football in the Carolina Lowcountry
Desjon Fraser’s 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown typified the heart the Ridgeland-Hardeeville Jaguars showed against the visiting Barnwell Warhorses. The Jags lost, 46-12, in the eighth game of a disappointing 2-8 season. However, the Jaguars, who play in the lower southeast corner of South Carolina, gave their all against the Warhorses. They knew it was a war, and they didn’t lay down.
Fraser’s touchdown made the score 20-6 with 1:37 left in the first half.
“Nothing special,” Fraser said after the game. “I had good blocking.”
Actually, the play was very special. It was the first time the Jags scored at home all season.
Because of severe weather across the state in early October, the Jags had played only two home games all season. They were shut out in both.
One of those shutouts was a 35-0 loss to Woodland that prompted head coach Jahmaal Nelson to say, “We’ve got too many guys on the fence.”
Against the Barnwell Warhorses, in the Jags’ third home game of the season, they often didn’t execute well. However, the Jags were a team that wanted to play.
“They fought hard,” Coach Nelson said of his players. “I love each and every one of them.”
In the second quarter, the Jaguars defense stopped a Barnwell threat on the Ridgeland-Hardeeville 15.
Three plays later, on third-and-9 from the 16, Jabari Williams connected with Frank Fields for 17 yards–only to see it called back on a penalty.
The play that didn’t count ignited the crowd. On third-and-19 from the 6–with the Ridgeland-Hardeeville band leading the crowd in a huge cheer–Williams hit Darius Solomon for 26 yards and a first down.
The drive ended in a punt, but later in the quarter, Fraser set off the fireworks.
With the Jags down 20-0, Fraser took a kickoff on his own 15, ran past one Warhorse after another, shifted gears at midfield, and turned on the afterburners for an 85-yard touchdown.
Just before halftime, with the score 20-6, Shameik Giles sacked Warhorse quarterback Pete Elmore.
The Jaguars hoped to carry that momentum into the second half, but the Warhorses continued scoring touchdowns.
The fans kept cheering for another score, and in the final minutes of the game, the Jags delivered.
Jataree Williams returned a kickoff 17 yards to the Ridgeland-Hardeeville 45. Four plays later, on fourth-and-2, Fraser ran right for 7 yards and a first down.
Fueled by Fraser to the left and Fraser to the right, the Jags marched down the field. With the ball on the Barnwell 10, Jabari Williams scrambled 6 yards to the 4.
After a Barnwell penalty put the ball on the 2, Freddie Aiken took it up the middle for a touchdown.
“We didn’t give up,” Fields said. Richard Jones said, “We played with heart.”
Jones, who plays defensive end, finished with seven tackles–three of them solo–and two quarterback hurries. Coach Nelson praised the emotional role Jones played on the team. Jones had experienced a family tragedy, but Coach Nelson said, “He did a great job encouraging his teammates.”