The SJCS football team made its first home playoff game a successful venture Friday night, opening up a four-touchdown lead in the first half on its way to a 49-27 victory over Lee Central.
The Knights (10-1), matching the program’s highest win total with their 10th victory, advanced to the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. They will travel to Columbia to take on Gray Collegiate Academy at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Senior running back Rashad Luckey again carried the load for St. Joe’s, rushing for four touchdowns. In seven games this season (he’s missed four due to injuries), Luckey has scored 26 touchdowns (25 rushing, one receiving).
As has been the case many times this season, the Knights scored on their first possession. They marched 66 yards in five plays, with Luckey capping the drive by scoring from 2 yards out. The big play was a 31-yard dash by sophomore quarterback Harrison Scott.
The defense enabled the Knights to regain possession quickly, and Luckey’s 5-yard touchdown run — followed by another successful Matthew Hall conversion — made it 14-0 with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
Sophomore K.D. Boyd made a leaping, one-handed interception at the St. Joe’s 23-yard line, and that was the start of a 77-yard scoring drive for the Knights. Luckey’s 35-yard run was the key play, and Scott plowed in from the 1.
Luckey’s third touchdown came on a 10-yard run in which he bulldozed a defender on his way to the end zone. Hall’s kick gave the Knights a commanding 28-0 lead.
Lee Central scored on a pass with four seconds left in the half, making it 28-7.
Midway through the third quarter, Scott burst through the middle and sprinted 64 yards for a touchdown. On the Knights’ next possession, Scott threw short to the left side to junior Kyle Lonergan, who darted down the left sideline for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Hall’s conversion gave St. Joe’s a 42-7 advantage with 2:56 to go in the third quarter.
Lee Central scored on a pass with eight seconds left in the third and then rallied with the help of St. Joe’s turnovers. The Stallions capitalized on two fumbles in the fourth quarter, turning them into touchdown passes and pulling to within 42-27.
But Luckey added his fourth touchdown of the night on a 6-yard run with 2:59 remaining to clinch the victory.