ROCK HILL — Facing a crucial fourth down with 4.4 seconds left against Northwestern, South Pointe quarterback Devin Pearson sprinted left and ran into his own end zone?
Oddly enough, he drained the remaining seconds off the clock by taking the safety and ensured the Stallions a 28-25 comeback win against the rival Trojans Friday night at District Three Stadium.
Pearson starred for South Pointe (6-0, 2-0 Region 3 AAAA) in a riveting game pitting one of the states best high school football offenses against one of its best defenses. In the end, the defensive-minded Stallions made enough plays on both sides of the ball to win their 16th straight game, dating to last season.
That was kind of the way I was hoping the game would end, Stallions coach Strait Herron said. I was hoping it would be close. Im just so proud of our kids, such a great effort.
Pearson, a senior, played arguably one of the best games of his illustrious career to lead the Stallions back from a 23-14 deficit. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth, and also played cornerback on defense to try and help control fifth-ranked Northwesterns explosive passing attack.
Thats what were expecting from him, said Herron. Thats what we want every single day. We know he can do it, and hes a true leader, by his actions, not what he says.
Anthony Johnson caught two of Pearsons touchdown passes, including one with seconds left in the first half that cut a 23-14 Northwestern (4-2, 1-1) lead to two points. The Stallions then did what seemed unthinkable, holding the Trojans scoreless for a quarter and a half.
In hindsight, it was typical for a Stallions team limiting opponents to eight points per game entering Friday night. Northwestern came in averaging 47 points and more than 450 yards of offense, but South Pointes relentless pressure up front led by Zeek Rodney put Trojans quarterback Mason Rudolph in a constant hurry. The Stallions press coverage on the flanks smothered Northwesterns vaunted quick-strike Air Raid offense.
We just didnt execute offensively in the second half, said Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson. We had a lot of busted plays where we had receivers running wide open and we couldnt get it to them, and sacks that we didnt do in the first half. They played for four quarters and did a good job defensively in the second half.
South Pointe 28, Northwestern 25
NHS -- Sully Foy 39 yard field goal
SPHS -- Devin Pearson 65 run (Logan Ard kick)
NHS -- Mustafia Love 8 pass from Mason Rudolph (Foy kick)
SPHS -- Kyle Brandt 24 pass from Pearson (Ard kick)
NHS -- DuPree Hart 5 run (Foy kick)
NHS -- Tori Adams 1 run (Foy kick blocked)
SPHS -- Anthony Johnson 22 pass from Rudolph (Ard kick)
SPHS -- Johnson 33 pass from Pearson (Ard kick)
NHS -- Pearson sacked in end zone
RUSHING SPHS: Devin Pearson 27-104; C.J. Pendergrass 8-19; Josh Brice 3-14. NHS: DuPree Hart 14-59, Mason Rudolph 14-35, LaThomas Long 6-11, Tori Adams 2-9.
PASSING SPHS: Pearson 16-21-1-3:. NHS: Rudolph 18-31-1-1.
RECEIVING SPHS: Anthony Johnson 5-72, P.J. Heath 4-48, DeShawn Davis 4-42, Kyle Brandt 2-29, Pendergrass 1-19. NHS: Mustafia Love 7-71, Rontavious McClure 6-37, hart 3-39, Jared Balasco 1-22, Ahmad Dewese 1-14.
RECORDS SPHS 6-0, 2-0 ; NHS 4-, 1-1