GREENVILLE — Darrius Minter and Darrius Foote are key members of the Chester Cyclones offensive line. They usually do not line up on the defensive side of the football.
However, both were called into action at a key point of Friday's Class AAA opening-round playoff game against Wade Hampton.
The Generals led 28-27 with 4:18 remaining and needed only 1 inch to put Chester on the ropes.
On first-and-goal, Chester defensive line coach Kelvin Minter called on Foote and Darrius Minter to line up at the inside guard positions and they made two key stops on quarterback sneak attempts. The third play was a 6-yard loss and the fourth was an incomplete pass, completing a successful goalline stand.
"We took two of our best offensive linemen and put them in there on defense," said Minter. "They played defense together in the ninth and 10th grades, but we had to put them in there on that series."
That goalline stand set the stage for a dramatic 93-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Tony McNeal connected with Deon Strong for a 29-yard touchdown pass giving Chester a dramatic 33-28 victory.
The Cyclones took the lead with 1:26 remaining and survived a final Generals' drive that ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone as time expired.
McNeal, a Clemson recruit, had an outstanding game. He finished 22-of-37 for 361 yards and four touchdowns. Strong came up huge with seven catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Chester had to manage most of the contest without Shrine Bowl nominee Julius Pendergrass, who left the game in the first quarter with a hip pointer. His loss was crucial on defense as the Generals had an effective ground game.
Offensively, the Cyclones scored on all but three possessions. McNeal displayed leadership and poise down the stretch, completing 4-of-6 attempts. On the game-winning play he scrambled to his left under pressure.
Prior to getting hit, McNeal lofted a pass toward the right corner of the end zone. Strong made the catch to send Chester, 7-4, into the second round of the playoffs. The Cyclones will play Belton Honea-Path next week
CHESTER 33, WADE HAMPTON 28
WH - Garfield Dandridge 28 run (J.B. Norris kick)
CHS -Tevin Worthy 4 pass from Tony McNeal (Joey Ford kick)
CHS -Deon Strong 26 pass from McNeal (Ford kick)
CHS -Brent Minter 20 pass from McNeal (kick failed)
WH-Nick Grove 1 run (Norris kick)
WH-Grove 3 run (Norris kick)
CHS-Minter 1 run (Ford kick)
WH -Grove 15 run (Norris kick)
CHS -Strong 29 pass from McNeal (pass failed)
RUSHING - Wade Hampton: Blake Hayes 20-87, Garfield Dandridge 10-76, Nick Grove 7-27, Capers Williamson 3-1, Hakeem Flowers 1-7, Megik Henderson 1-(-1). Chester: Brent Minter 16-71, Darriel Rambert 10-53, Julius Pendergrass 5-30, Tony McNeal 4-(-14), K.J. Dixon 2-(-1).
PASSING - Wade Hampton: Capers Williamson 9-17-137; Nick Grove 0-2-0-0; Megik Henderson 0-1-0. Chester: Tony McNeal 22-37-0-361.
RECEIVING - Wade Hampton: Hakeem Flowers 2-44, A.J. Henderson 2-35, Blake Hayes 2-24, Brady Segars 1-16, Garfield Dandridge 1-15, Nick Grove 1-3. Chester: Deon Strong 7-175, Tevin Worthy 6-67, Deterrion Hardin 4-65, Brent Minter 3-36, Darriel Rambert 2-18.
Records: Wade Hampton 9-2, Chester 7-4.