DUNCAN — When Brayden Blackmon woke up on Saturday, it didn’t seem likely that he would have much of an impact on Byrnes’ first-round playoff game against Westside.
Instead, the sophomore and third-string quarterback rushed for three second-half touchdowns as the Rebels cruised to a 57-14 win.
“It’s just crazy how the coaches bring me in during practice and tell me that they want to run and practice a play with me,” Blackmon said. “They liked how it looked and decided to keep it. It went very well today and I am just blessed to be in the position I am.
“I want to give a shoutout to the offensive line for blocking up front and the receivers for blocking their hearts out and being unselfish. I am thankful to be a part of this team.”
Blackmon would have likely seen playing time in a lopsided game, but the need to play both he and BJ Peake began in the second quarter when starting quarterback Lawrence Scott suffered a leg injury.
“Our kids have just epitomized next man up,” Rebels coach Reggie Shaw said. “Unfortunately (because of injuries) we have had to do that more than we wanted to, but it’s about whatever it takes to win. Our guys want to compete and be great. They care about each other, and that makes a big difference.
“Brayden has had a heck of a year on junior varsity. We knew he was going to be a force to reckon with when he touches the ball. He is a big, physical athlete who is hard to bring down, so we thought going into the playoffs we would have an opportunity to use that package.”
Scott helped Byrnes build a 22-0 lead before exiting with two rushing touchdowns and another through the air. With Rahjai Harris rushing for 144 first-half yards and a score, the Rebels led 29-7 at halftime. Peake pushed the lead to 36-7 on a 2-yard touchdown run before Blackmon entered and scored three times. He finished with 109 yards on 14 carries, and also completed his only pass attempt for 29 yards.
“I am usually nervous on the first play,” Blackmon said. “But after that, I have my game face on and I am ready to play.”
The Rebels will travel to Sumter next Friday to face an undefeated Gamecocks team.
“They are big, athletic, and well coached,” Shaw said. “They run the ball well and play tough defense. They are a typical Sumter team. They always have great athletes and are always physical.”