Saturday's was a rare game in which the South Pointe Stallions didn't score a defensive touchdown, but they played one of their better games minus penalties and an uncharacteristic fourth quarter.
Heading into the final 12 minutes, the Stallions led the Myrtle Beach Seahawks, 23-14. They had held the Seahawks to 11 yards rushing and 99 yards passing when senior quarterback Everett Golson got rolling.
He completed 9 of 12 passes for 81 yards, leading the Seahawks to a pair of touchdowns, the last a 20-yarder to Dallas Goodman with 6:48 left for a 27-23 victory.
"We didn't play well in the first half and I have to take the blame for that,'' Golson said. "We couldn't get anything going and we were playing like bullcrap .. can I say that?
"We talked about it at the half and I decided it was time for me to step up and play better. We came back late, but we were able to turn it around. And not just on offense. Our defense did a great job holding their offense in the second half.''
Both teams went into their Class AAA state championship with 13-1 records and riding 12-game winning streaks. South Pointe was ranked No. 1, Myrtle Beach No. 2. And it appeared all the numbers would hold up with the Stallions ahead by 9 points with just a quarter remaining.
Golson talked about faith after the game. He said faith has taken the Seahawks a long way the last three seasons, each ending in the state championship game. Myrtle Beach beat Chester in 2008, and lost to Clinton last year. Golson said he and the Seahawks will take two of three, but wishes they had won all of them.
The loss marked the end of an era at South Pointe with all-state defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Gerald Dixon finishing their careers. Clowney was the hot ticket on the pressbox TVs, which focused on him during most of the pre-game warm-ups. He kept the cameras happy as the game started, sacking Golson for a 12-yard loss on the Seahawks' first play.
But the story of the first half was Stallions' sophomore quarterback Devin Pearson. Trailing 7-2 in the second quarter, he showed why South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll has placed the future in his hands.
Pearson faked a dive into the right side of the line and broke to the left from his 20 yard line. After a footrace down the middle of the field, Seahawks' Jaquan Wilson tackled him after a 75-yard gain to the Myrtle Beach 5-yard-line. A penalty on the end of the run pushed the ball back 5 yards, but on fourth down from the 4, Carroll instructed his team to stay on the field.
Pearson tossed a touchdown pass to junior JaRyan Jennings. Landon Ard nailed the point after for a 9-7 lead. Jennings ran a 5-yard touchdown late in the half, and the Stallions led 16-7 at halftime.
"We made some adjustments at the half on defense and it was a good idea by our assistant coaches,'' Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. "South Pointe is a quick-scoring team, so we realized holding them down and getting our offense going were our priorities. We went out and executed the changes, turned the game around.''
The game tightened in the third quarter. Myrtle Beach closed the margin to two points, 16-14, on Golson's 28-yard pass to Wilson. South Pointe answered on another play triggered by Pearson - a 21-yard touchdown pass to another junior, Montay Crockett, for a 23-14 lead.
It was no mystery to Carroll and his team that all the Stallions had to do to bring this one home was to turn the game over to its defense. The Seahawks were thinking the opposite.
Myrtle Beach made it a 2-point game again, 23-21, at the 8:47 mark on a 4-yard touchdown run for Daiquone Ford. The best medicine now was another touchdown and to do that, the Seahawks were going to have to put the ball in the hands of one of the state's all-time best quarterback, Golson.
Pearson fumbled with 7:07 left and Chocolate Wilson recovered at South Pointe's 24. On third down from the 20, Golson hit Goodman with the game winner.
MYRTLE BEACH 27
SOUTH POINTE 23
SP -- Safety, ball downed in end zone.
MB -- Jaquan Wilson 5 pass from Everett Golson (Max Huggins kick)
SP -- JaRyan Jennings 4 pass from Devin Pearson (Landon Ard kick)
SP -- Jennings 5 run (Ard kick)
MB -- Wilson 28 pass from Everett Golson (Huggins kick)
SP -- Montay Crockett 21 pass from Pearson (Ard kick)
MB -- Daiquone Ford 4 run (Huggins kick)
MB -- Dallas Goodman 20 pass from Golson (Huggins kick)
RUSHING - Myrtle Beach: Golson 7-16, Daiquone Ford 15-9, Team 1-(-2). South Pointe: Pearson 21-126, Crockett 4-48, Jalen Massey 12-35, Jennings 7-21, Jadeveon Clowney 2-4.
PASSING - Myrtle Beach: Golson 21-38-1, 180 yards. South Pointe: Pearson 2-6-1, 25 yards RECEIVING - Myrtle Beach: Donte Sumter 6-82, Ford 5-0, Goodman 4-40, Wilson 3-37, Jerrod Jackson 2-16, Tramond Wilson 1-5; South Pointe: Crockett 1-21, Jennings 1-4.
RECORDS: Myrtle Beach 14-1, South Pointe 13-2.