GAFFNEY -- T.L. Hanna visited The Reservation knowing only one spot in the next round of the 5A playoffs would be reserved for them or its host, Gaffney. That spot went to Gaffney as the Indians remained unbeaten and knocked the Yellow Jackets out of the playoffs by winning in nail-biting fashion, 34-26, Friday night. 

“I thought our kids fought their tails off. The game of football is such a crazy thing. It’s got a bunch of highs and a bunch of lows. I tell you what, they fought to the very, very end. I’m very proud of them,” said head coach Jason Tone. 

Hanna’s 1st drive of the night was unfruitful, a 3-and-out. Gaffney’s was just peachy. On just the Indians’ 4th offensive play, Grayson Loftis connected with Jadarius Littlejohn for a 47-yard touchdown.  

Hanna’s Najee Williams took the ensuing kickoff to the Indians’ 42-yard line. Following Williams’ return, the Yellow Jackets put together a 7-play scoring drive capped off by a 10-yard Jay Dillard-Carson Bacheller connection. The 1st quarter concluded without any more fireworks. Gaffney (12-0) did have a pre-game firework display but they must’ve used them all. 


Carson Bacheller's touchdown

But the Indians were driving at the end of the 1st. Carrying over into the 2nd, running back Tyler Smith took a direct snap for a 1-yard score. Gaffney led 14-7 with 10:01 left in the 2nd quarter. 

Hanna’s next drive resulted in a Yellow Jacket punt. Three plays later, on a flea-flicker, Grayson Loftis lofted a 51-yard touchdown pass to Littlejohn. Gaffney led 21-7 with 4:47 left in the 1st half. 

The Yellow Jackets were able to scratch a score back, just before half, as Fletcher Cothran ran it in from 2 yards out, with just 2 seconds left. 


Fletcher Cothran scores

Opening the 2nd half, Gaffney’s Smith again scored for the Indians, this time a 43-yarder. 

On the night, Smith had 13 carries for 93 yards and 3 touchdowns. 


Tyler Smith breaks away

Hanna’s next drive resulted in a failed 4th-and-5 on Gaffney’s 12-yard line with 4:38 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Indians looked primed to break it open. Gaffney drove down to Hanna’s 39 but a bad throw from Loftis, and a good play from Yellow Jacket Kamren Johnson, resulted in an interception. The Jackets were stinging again and were driving to conclude the 3rd quarter. 


Kamren Johnson earns the turnover chain

On the 1st play of the final quarter, Walt Smith ripped open a 36-yard score to bring Hanna to within a possession again. Logan McConnell slipped on the PAT and the score was left at 28-20, Gaffney. 


Walt Smith and Kenny Fretwell

The Jackets forced a quick punt from Gaffney. On the Jackets’ ensuing drive, Dillard found Johnson for a 44-yard gain all the way to Gaffney’s 2. Kabrail Morrison did the dirty work and drove it home for Hanna. But again, no more than 6 could be added to the scoreboard as Hanna failed on its 2-point conversion attempt. The Indians still led 28-26 with 6:45 left in the game.


Kabrail Morrison shows love to the camera

The two traded quick drives and punts until Gaffney had the ball with 3:41 left. The Indians put together a 7-play, 37-yard drive that resulted in Smith scoring his 3rd touchdown of the game from 18 yards out. Gaffney led 34-26, and with a successful PAT, the game would’ve been out of reach. 

It was an unsuccessful PAT, with Kamren Johnson showing up once more and blocking the extra-point attempt.


Kamren Johnson blocks the PAT

Hanna was down 8 with only 1:22 left. The Yellow Jackets made a living out of thrills closing out the season but this one ran out. 

Four plays into Hanna’s potential comeback, Dillard threw an interception to Gaffney’s Kaliber Hoey. The Indians kneeled it out and ended the Yellow Jackets’ season. 

Hanna concludes its season with a record of 10-2. 


General Manager

Caleb is from Clinton but has family ties in Anderson. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in May with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he's not on the sidelines, Caleb enjoys watching sports, playing video games and basketball.