ABBEVILLE — Christ Church never had a prayer.
But No. 1-ranked Abbeville preyed on the previously unbeaten Cavaliers on Friday night at Hite Stadium, completely dominating on both sides of the ball in a 46-0 Region 1-2A victory.
The Panthers (5-0 overall, 2-0 region) rolled up 423 yards of total offense to Christ Church’s 88. Abbeville quarterback Thomas Beauford — in arguably his best game in a Panther uniform — passed for a pair of touchdowns, and J’Marion Burton ran for two more.
“Great decision-making,” Abbeville coach Jamie Nickles said of Beauford. “Give coach (Tony) Temple and coach (Mark) Smith credit. Those three work together really well with the chemistry. And don’t forget our offensive line. Coach (Wayne) Botts does a great job with those guys.”
Christ Church (4-1, 3-1) came to Abbeville with a chance to win the region title. The Panthers quashed any hopes of that early on, stifling highly touted Cavalier quarterback Ryan Johnsen and never letting him find time to make plays. Abbeville put so much pressure on Johnsen that he finished the night with minus-27 yards rushing. He completed 12-of-29 passes for just 76 yards, and he was intercepted once by Panther defensive back Jerimiah Lomax.
Abbeville’s Sincere Ceasor and Jonathan Jackson sacked Johnsen for huge losses on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter. Ceasor also batted down a pass, linebacker Cruz Temple — playing with a padded cast after breaking his hand in last week’s game — recovered a fumble and joined fellow linebacker Luke Evans in delivering huge hits on Cavalier players.
“That was kind of the game plan,” Nickles said of the defensive pressure. “We knew that he was so good that, if you sit back and give him time, he’ll carve you apart.”
Nine different players ran the ball for Abbeville, which amassed 309 yards on the ground. It was the team’s fourth shutout of the season. The Panthers have allowed just 21 total points, and those came in a battle with North Carolina’s Christ School, a highly touted private prep school.
Beauford did exactly what he needed to do in keeping the Christ Church defense honest, completing 4-of-7 passes for 114 yards. Two of those went for touchdowns — one for 60 yards to Tyrell Haddon in the first quarter and another for 32 yards to Kelly Garner in the third quarter — and a third one for 22 yards set up Burton’s first touchdown near the end of the first quarter.
Burton led the Panthers in rushing for the first time this year, racking up 71 yards. Haddon had 68 yards rushing. Garner caught two passes for 54 yards.
Abbeville took a 15-0 lead into the second quarter, then Addison Nickles kicked a 40-yard field goal to extend the Panthers’ lead to 18-0. Nickles is now 3-for-3 on field goals of 45, 44 and 40 yards this season.
Burton’s second touchdown of the first half came in the second quarter, and Ty Cade added a 6-yard TD run for the Panthers, who took a 32-0 lead into halftime.
Beauford’s TD pass to Garner in the third extended the lead to 39-0, and fullback Martico Jackson added the exclamation point with an 8-yard scoring run.
Jackson rushed 15 times for 64 yards, while Navi Marshall — who leads the Panthers in total yards this season — had 42 in limited action after going down with an injury.
The Panthers held the Cavaliers to just 12 total rushing yards.
It was the Cavaliers’ final region game. They play two non-region games to complete the season.
Abbeville locked up a playoff berth and has a chance to clinch the region title next Friday when the Panthers travel to Iva to face Crescent. Abbeville’s final region game is in two weeks, at home against Liberty.
Abbeville 15 17 7 7 — 46
Christ Church 0 0 0 0 — 0
A — Tyrell Haddon 60 pass from Thomas Beauford (Navi Marshall run)
A — J’Marion Burton 3 run (Addison Nickles kick)
A — Nickles 40 FG
A — Burton 6 run (Nickles kick)
A — Ty Cade 6 run (Nickles kick)
A — Kelly Garner 32 pass from Beauford (Nickles kick)
A — Martico Jackson 8 run (Seth Griffin kick)
Rushing — A: J’Marion Burton 12-71, Tyrell Haddon 17-68, Martico Jackson 15-64, Navi Marshall 7-42, Zay Rayford 4-22, Jonathan Jackson 2-15, Thomas Beauford 5-12, Antonio Harrison 1-9, Ty Cade 1-6. C: Grayson Klue 10-41, Graham Malo 2-(-2), Ryan Johnsen 5-(-27).
Passing — A: Thomas Beauford 4-7-114-0. C: Ryan Johnsen 12-29-76-1.
Receiving — A: Tyrell Haddon 2-60, Kelly Garner 2-54. C: B.J. Atkins 3-27, Benji Horton 2-25, Harrison Horton 3-14, Walker Hronchek 1-8, Harrison Houser 2-5, Grayson Klue 1-(-3).
Records: Abbeville 5-0 (2-0 Region 1-2A), Crescent 4-1 (3-1 Region 1-2A)
Next game: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Abbeville at Crescent