All season long, Kristy Schumacher has said her J.L. Mann offense was “a bunch of babies.”
With the biggest games of the season ahead, Schumacher said, it was time to grow up.
Wednesday night, that’s just what happened.
The Patriots’ offense put on one of its better shows of the season, using a balanced attack to defeat Fort Mill 15-7 in the Class AAAA Upper State final. J.L. Mann (16-3) will face either Bishop England or Wando in Saturday’s state final.
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Fort Mill finished its season 8-6.
Mann dominated with balanced scoring. The Patriots’ first eight goals came from eight different players. Senior Ruthann Payne, sophomore Luci Ellison, sophomore Blakley Wilson and sophomore Ashli Woodard had two goals apiece.
“We knew our offense was the weakest link and they know that, it’s not a secret,” Schumacher said. “The key is they have progressed. Every time they step on the field they get a little bit better. And my babies are growing up.”
Mann jumped to an early 3-0 lead, but Fort Mill rallied with three goals to tie the game with 19:32 left in the first half. From there, the Patriots scored seven consecutive goals spanning the next 28 minutes to take a 10-3 lead with 21:24 to play in the game. Fort Mill got no closer than five goals the rest of the way.
Sophomore Maddie Anderson scored four goals for Fort Mill, with senior Claire Frase adding three.