South Pointe coach Strait Herron referenced the old saying, "it's hard to beat a team two times."
The Stallions, however, made beating Fairfield Central the fourth time in less than 13 months look easy in a 35-16 win in Class AAA playoff action Friday at District Three South Stadium in Rock Hill.
Now, South Pointe (12-1) will try to beat York (10-3) for the second time this season in next Friday's Upper State championship.
"It's become a great rivalry," Herron said. "Hopefully it will be a great football game between two great football teams."
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The Stallions first took care of Fairfield Central (8-5).
The Griffins, perhaps mindful of last year's disastrous start against the Stallions in the playoffs that led to a 43-0 deficit after one quarter, opened with a 14-play, 68-yard touchdown drive. NaJahwan McKinstry finished the march with a 1-yard score on fourth-and-goal.
South Pointe answered in one-play fashion.
Quarterback Devin Pearson faked a zone-read and ran untouched 70 yards for a touchdown and a 7-6 lead. Pearson had 117 of his game-high 133 rushing yards in the first.
Fairfield Central regained the lead on a 32-yard field goal by McKinstry before the end of the first quarter
The Stallions answered with another quick strike.
Montay Crockett exploded down the left sideline for a 31-yard score. Logan Yard added a two-point conversion on a fake, and South Pointe led 15-9 at halftime.
"Our team seems to be an opportunistic-type team," Herron said. "I think that's a credit to how hard we play."
The Griffins started the second half with a 12-play, 98-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown by Jimmy Walker.
Corey Neely's return set up the Stallions at midfield, however, and JaRyan Jennings slipped through defenders on a receiver screen three plays later for a 39-yard score.
The Stallions stuffed the Griffins on a fourth-and-1 on the ensuing drive, and Pearson zipped a 41-yard touchdown pass to Tay Hicklin on a crossing route for a 28-16 lead after three quarters.
South Pointe's Zeek Rodney recovered a Fairfield Central lateral on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Manzey Miller capitalized with a 6-yard touchdown.
The Stallions coasted from there, setting up an Upper State championship that's sure to be the talk around the Thanksgiving table in York County.
"Playing against York is going to be a good game; a good tough game," Crockett said.
SOUTH POINTE 35,
F. CENTRAL 16
FC-NaJahwan McKinstry 1 run (Kick failed)
SP-Devin Pearson 70 run (Logan Ard kick)
FC-McKinstry 32 field goal
SP-Montay Crockett 31 run (Logan Yard two-point conversion)
FC-Jimmy Walker 3 run (McKinstry kick)
SP-Pearson 39 pass to JaRyan Jennings (Conversion failed)
SP-Pearson 41 pass to Tay Hicklin (Ard kick)
SP-Manzey Miller 7 run (Ard kick)
RUSHING -- FAIRFIELD CENTRAL: Walker 16-44, McKinstry 17-37, Damien Bell 7-32, Shaffarrole Jones 2-4, Dana Macklin 3-7, Ross Sparks 2-29. SOUTH POINTE: Pearson 13-133, Brandan Barber 12-56, Miller 15-91, Crockett 1-31, Josh Brice 3-7, Team 1-(-20).
PASSING -- FAIFIELD CENTRAL: McKinstry 12-25-3, 148 yards. SOUTH POINTE: Pearson 7-14-3, 143 yards.
RECEIVING -- FAIRFIELD CENTRAL: Terrell Crumblin 4-48, Sparks 3-30, Macklin 1-11, Walker 1-0, Jones 2-51, Bell 1-8. SOUTH POINTE: Hicklin 2-68, Jennings 2-51, Crockett 1-5, LaKeenan Scruggs 2-19.