COLUMBIA — The Greenwood Eagles offense finished the Class 4A-Division state championship with 24 straight run plays.
The result was two different touchdown drives in the Eagles 31-24 overtime win against the Northwestern Trojans at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
The first drive was a 20-play, 97-yard odyssey that chewed 10 minutes, 22 seconds off the clock in the third and fourth quarters. The other took four plays, moved 10 yards and provided the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Obviously Northwestern wasnt going to slow down, Greenwood coach Gene Cathcart said. We had to get ours while we had the chance.
Northwesterns Mason Rudolph pinned Greenwood at its 3-yard line with a 47-yard punt with 2:22 left in the third quarter. Greenwood reeled off 20 consecutive runs out of its double-wing attack.
Fullback dive. Quarterback keeper. Option pitch. The march was as repetitive as it was relentless.
We were backed up, Greenwood quarterback Evin Sims said. We knew we had to be mentally tough enough to pound the ball right at them.
The Eagles converted a pair of third downs on the march, then faced a fourth-and-1 on the 15-yard line. Greenwoods Shavoy Davis lunged up the middle for a first down. Three plays later, Northwestern forced a fourth-and-4 on the 9-yard line, but Cathcart passed on a field goal. Sims made good on that faith, taking a quarterback draw for a touchdown and a 24-16 lead with 4:58 remaining.
Not a bad way to keep the Trojans Air Raid offense off the field.
We had a 90-something yard drive last week at South Pointe, Cathcart said. Were kind of made that way as an offense; to make me old before my time.
Northwestern answered with a game-tying drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Dupree Hart. LaThomas Longs two-point conversion run sent the game into overtime, and the Trojans won the toss. All the momentum shifted.
They had a 96-yard drive and it hurt us really bad, Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said.
But our offense got off the benches and went out and responded and pushed the ball down the field.
The Trojans stuffed Davis on first down, but Sims worked the ball to the two-yard line with a pair of four-yard runs. Cathcart opted to go for it one more time on fourth down, and Octavious Morgan burst through the middle for a two-yard touchdown run.
The Eagles stopped the Trojans afterward; the end result Greenwoods seventh state championship.
I dont know if you can practice that environment, Cathcart said. Overtime, state championship, but our kids certainly looked pretty good at it.