CHESTER — Things did not look very promising for the Chester Cyclones after Greenville quarterback Clark Scolamiero inched a fourth-quarter sneak across the goal line with 6:39 remaining.
At that point, Chester trailed by 13 points in the second-round of the Class-AAA playoffs, and had an offense struggling with only seven points to that point.
However, this was when the Cyclones resorted to their two-minute offensive drill, which is worked every day in practice during situational drills.
And led by quarterback Tommy Sanders, the Cyclones made those daily practices pay off with two fourth-quarter scoring drives, the latter ending with a 10-yard pass to Derrell Rambert with 31 seconds remaining.
That was just enough for the Cyclones, who held on for the thrilling 21-20 victory before a jubilant home crowd at Chester Stadium.
Sanders, who finished with 14-of-20 completions for 193 yards and three touchdowns, scrambled to his right after being flushed from the pocket on the game-winning play.
Having seen the Cyclones quarterback being effective at scrambling throughout the contest, the Greenville defenders quickly moved up to make the tackle. Sanders, however, pulled up before crossing the line of scrimmage and fired a strike to Rambert in the right corner of the end zone.
From that point, all it took was a Matt Kennedy extra-point kick, which was perfectly executed, for the dramatic Cyclones comeback.
We worked on that everyday, Sanders said about the two-minute drill. We put in a lot of time with that, so we were confident that we could go down the field and score.
Prior to marching 73 yards on nine plays with 1:56 remaining, Chester pulled within six, 20-14, on a 7-play, 62-yard drive, which ended with Sanders finding Jemarcus Moore on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 4:19 remaining.
The Chester defense was able to force a three-and-out and a Red Raiders punt with 2:12 remaining, setting up the Chester offense with the game-winning drama.
I just told them to be patient and not overreact to the situation, Chester coach Anthony Sterling said. Six minutes is a lot of time to get down there and score; we work on that all the time in practice, so we were very confident.
Chester, 8-4, will now be on the road to play Daniel in the Class-AAA semifinals action next week. Daniel defeated Blue Ridge on Friday night.
Chester 21 Greenville 20
G Clark Scolamiero 23-yard pass to Rashad Washpon (Cam Wakefield kick)
C Tommy Sanders 27-yard pass to Melvin Jackson (Matt Kennedy kick)
G Scolamiero 33-yard pass to Washpon (Wakefield kick)
G Scolamiero 1-yard run (kick failed)
C Sanders 21-yard pass to Jemarcus Moore (Kennedy kick)
C Sanders 10-yard pass to Derrell Rambert (Kennedy kick)
RUSHING Chester: Lorenzo White 18-83, Derrell Rambert 8-7, Tommy Sanders 20-21, Broderick Roscoe 1-10. Greenville: Jamond Thomason 15-97, Clark Scolamiero 15-42, Cam Wakefield 1-(-15).
PASSING Chester: Tommy Sanders 14-20-0-193. Greenville: Clark Scolamiero 14-30-1-192, Carson Spiers 4-7-0-24.
RECEIVING Chester: Marcell Hampton 1-25, Melvin Jackson 4-74, Jemarcus Moore 4-47, Derrell Rambert 2-17, Lorenzo White 3-34. Greenville: Caleb Franklin 4-23, Jamond Thomason 4-30, Najee Bowens 4-54, Rashaad Washpon 5-108, Cam Wakefield 1-8.
RECORDS Chester 8-4, Greenville 8-4.