ROCK HILL — The word most often spoken this week about the football showdown between South Pointe and York was defense.
How, folks were asking, would South Pointe be able to score on the states best defensive team, one that was giving up 9 points a game?
Not only did South Pointe score, the Stallions were the dominant defensive team in the first half while jumping to a 21-7 lead that turned into a dramatic 31-28 win in the second round of the Class AAAA Division II state playoffs.
The Stallions allowed 41 yards rushing, 3 passing and three first downs. South Pointe made one mistake in the half: sailing the opening kickoff to Yorks Lee Wright.
He fielded the ball at his 3 and raced up the right sideline 72 yards to South Pointes 26. Two plays later, Spencer Carroll hit DeShawn Davis on a 2-yard pass for the TD. Wrights return was a preview of what was to come
The rest of the half belonged to the Stallions, but York lives and dies by big plays, and Fridays game was a good example.
The game was decided on the last play. After Logan Ard put the Stallions up 31-28 on a 39-yard field goal with 1:30 left, York drove to South Pointes 35, where it faced a fourth and seven with 4.2 seconds left.
Carroll somehow sidestepped the rush and fired a pass toward the end zone. South Pointes PJ Heath made a leaping interception to save the game and send the Stallions to the semifinals at home next Friday against Greenwood.
We made too many mistakes, York coach Bobby Carroll said. When we beat them in the regular season, they made the mistakes and we won. Tonight we made the mistakes and they won.
South Pointe (12-1) scored 21 points in the second quarter.
Quarterback Devin Pearson tied the game with a 6-yard pass to Heath. Josh Brice scored on a 2-yard run. And Pearson fired a 42-yard TD strike to Anthony Johnson.
The third quarter was scoreless, but York (10-3) exploded in the fourth with 21 points of its own. The first touchdown was a 5-yard Ryan Moore run.
South Pointe pushed the score to 28-14 on a 55-yard Pearson to Johnson pass. Then it was Wright time.
The Stallions kicked the ball to Lamin Yansanah, who ran right. Wright was coming in the different direction and took a handoff from Yansanah. Wright ran down the right sideline for an 85-yard touchdown.
South Pointe punted with 4:59 left and Wright fielded the ball this time. He raced 85 yards again for another TD that tied the score 28-28.
We worked all week on our special teams and Im very disappointed, South Pointe coach Strait Herron said. Well work on it some more next week because you cant play lie we did when you get this far.
This was, without a doubt, the biggest game weve played. York has a good team and is well coached, but Im proud of our kids, too.
Final statistics from this game will appear in Sundays edition
Barry Byers 329-4099