Albert Neely was frantically waving his right arm, signaling "this way, this way" to teammate Tay Hicklin.
Neely might as well have been waving, "this way to the semifinals, this way to the semifinals." With the way the South Pointe defense was playing, Hicklin's 46-yard punt return for a touchdown was more than enough for the Stallions.
South Pointe's 50-7 win over Greenville Friday night moved the Stallions into the Class AAA semifinals against Fairfield Central, a 35-27 winner against previously unbeaten Belton-Honea Path.
Hicklin punt return helped set the stage for South Pointe's rout. He had fielded a punt on the right side of the field, but the blocking scheme was set up on the left side. Hicklin was sprinting across the field toward Neely, but two Greenville defenders in between.
Never miss a local story.
With one perfectly executed block, the 6-foot, 230 senior took out both would-be tacklers.
"A two-for-one special," Neely said.
Hicklin turned the corner and turned on the jets. His other blockers? Well, they had sealed off the South Pointe sidelines, clearing an easy path to the end zone.
The Stallions will host Fairfield Central on Friday in a rematch. South Pointe was a 17-7 winner early in the schedule.
"They're extremely well-coached and they've got some great football players," Stallions coach Bobby Carroll said. "We've got to work hard this week and correct our mistakes from that game. We have to tackle better on the perimeter, and secure the football better this time."
Ironically, an incident in that Fairfield Central game had a lot to do with South Pointe cruising past Greenville. Hicklin, then the quarterback, was ejected in the first Fairfield Central game and had to sit out the next week, so sophomore Devin Pearson took over.
Pearson's transition into the role was slow - he had 12 completions for 350 yards and two touchdowns in six games heading into Friday night. But against Greenville, Pearson had a huge game. He was a perfect 6-for-6, throwing for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
"That was air raid, South Pointe style tonight, man," Carroll said. "He did a great job throwing the ball tonight."
On South Pointe's opening drive, Pearson tossed a 33-yard completion to Tay Smith to convert a third-and-9. He went deep to Montay Crockett for a 48-yard score came on another third down.
Pearson later hooked up with Hicklin for a 51-yard touchdown pass and with Gerald Dixonon a 12-yard score.
His defensive teammates were just as impressive. Greenville didn't pick up its initial first down until its sixth drive of the game, with 4:40 left in the half.
South Pointe recorded eight different tackles for loss, including four sacks - two from Jadeveon Clowney and one each from JoJuan Thompson and Gerald Riggs.
"They came out more physical than us to begin with, and they stayed more physical," Greenville coach Phil Madgic said. "We really couldn't get anything going offensively."
For the game, Greenville had just two plays from scrimmage of more than 9 yards - the Red Raiders' lone touchdown came on a kickoff return - and one of those plays came with a running clock and South Pointe up by 43 points.
"I'd rate this as a 9.5," Neely said of his team's defensive effort.
"We've got a 10 in us. We're saving that for the state championship game."
SOUTH POINTE 50
SP--Devin Pearson 48 pass to Montay Crockett (Landon Ard kick)
SP--Tay Hicklin 46 punt return (Ard kick)
SP--Montay Crockett 7 run (Corey Rebh kick)
G--Roderick Williams 84 kickoff return (Michael Padgett kick)
SP--Pearson 23 pass to Hicklin (Rebh kick)
SP--Jadeveon Clowney 2 run (Rebh kick)
SP--Pearson 12 pass to Gerald Dixon (Rebh kick)
SP--Dominique Fergerson 20 run (kick failed)
RUSHING - Greenville: Nikeem Taylor 21-48, Glenn Batson 7-(minus-44), Rooke Crouch 5-17, Roderick Williams 1-2. South Pointe: Devin Pearson 14-71, JaRyan Jennings 4-17, Montay Crockett 6-22, Jalen Massey 10-21, Jadeveon Clowney 2-2, Brandan Barber 2-7, Dominique Fergerson 3-60, Logan Yard 1-1, Tay Hicklin 1-(-9), Malik Jamerson 1-8.
PASSING - Greenville: Batson 1-5-0-3, Crouch 1-9-2-9. South Pointe: Pearson 6-6-0-199.
RECEIVING - Greenville: Williams 1-9, Justin Robinson 1-3. South Pointe: Crockett 3-103, Tay Smith 1-33, Hicklin 1-51, Gerald Dixon 1-12.
RECORDS - South Pointe 12-1; Greenville 11-2.