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By Johnny Falduto of Friday Night Final - only on The ROAR

The Byrnes High School Rebels (4-0) continued their hot start to the 2022 season with a 23-14 victory over rival Greer (1-3) at Nixon Field on Friday night.

“Anytime we go up against Greer, we know we are going to get all they have because of the history between our schools,” said Byrnes senior quarterback Colby Shaw of the storied rivalry, “We tried to zone out all the outside noise about it being a big rivalry game because we want to approach every game the same.”

Shaw, who finished the game 17/31 completions for 182 yards and two touchdowns, opened the game’s scoring with a 10-yard strike to sophomore Tyleik Brooks midway through the first quarter. The Rebels’ 7-0 advantage would hold firm until just 12.5 seconds remained in the first half, when a 57-yard Greer connection between quarterback Josh Runion and junior Chase Byrd capped off a 134-yard first half for the receiver and knotted the game at 7 going into the half.

Midway through the third quarter, Colby Shaw found senior Kyai Cook on a 57-yard touchdown to put the Rebels back up 14-7, and sophomore JR Livingston’s lone touchdown of the night on Byrnes’ next offensive possession would extend their lead to 21-7.

Livingston, who totaled 94 rushing yards on 17 carries, was quick to credit his offensive line for his success running the ball against Greer’s strong defensive front: “I truly love my offensive line…nothing starts without them,” he said. “They put in so much work and have improved so much from the spring to the point where I feel like we have the best offensive line in the state.” Shaw echoed a similar sentiment about the group: “They never get enough credit but it all starts with them. They’re a group of down to earth, hard working guys that know how to battle.”

Just when it seemed like Byrnes was on the verge of pulling away, a spectacular catch by Greer’s sophomore receiver Brock Diggins brought it back to a one score game going into the fourth. A safety and too many penalties in the final period would turn out to be too much for the Yellow Jackets to overcome, however, resulting in a final score of 23-14 in favor of the Rebels.

“We felt like we were always in control of the game, we just made a few mistakes that we can’t have down the line if we want to win a championship,” said Kyai Cook, who totaled 91 receiving yards on the night. Perhaps the biggest of those mistakes came in the form of penalties, as Byrnes had 14 for 157 yards compared to Greer’s 12 for 122 yards. Colby Shaw touched on how the Rebels were able to overcome the penalties: “The penalties definitely hurt us tonight, but one thing Coach Hellams always says is ‘So now, now what,’ meaning we just have to move on because we can’t do anything about that penalty, you just have to move on to the next play.”

One of the biggest storylines to come out of the Rebels’ victory is that marked career win No. 100 for Head Coach Reggie Shaw. Running back JR Livingston had a lot to say about his coach and why he is so successful: “Coach Shaw is one of the best leaders I know. When you have a guy who is going to war with you, doing military obstacles in Fort Jackson with you… you know you have someone who is going 100% into battle with you on Friday nights. He has been able to maintain his success because guys want to play for Coach Shaw, so much so that old players come back all the time and see him, and you just always know that he is going to have you ready to play each week.”

Coach Reggie Shaw and the Rebels travel to Piedmont to face off with Wren (0-3) as they look to continue their perfect start while the Yellow Jackets return home to play Boiling Springs (1-3) as they look to get back into the win column.

“This team’s potential is through the roof. I really believe we have everything we need to win a state championship, we just need to keep working hard, staying humble, and staying hungry,” said Colby Shaw. “Our goal is to go 1-0 every week, and that’s all we focus on."

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Tune in to our Tri-County Tech High School Football Game of the Week, Friday nights at 7pm.