Junior running back OT Sims tore off a 39-yard rushing touchdown with 3:33 left in the fourth quarter as the Newberry High Bulldogs defeated the Chester High Cyclones 14-7 Friday night in Chester in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
The Cyclones, who entered 2019 as the defending AAA state champions, were unable to win their opening-round game in front of a chilly home crowd at Cyclones Stadium.
Newberry (7-4) will next travel to play Chapman, who routed Liberty in its first-round home playoff matchup.
“We were bad tonight on offense, (Newberry) did a good job defensively, and they deserved to win the game,” said Chester coach Victor Floyd. “They outplayed us.”
Stan Mills put the Cyclones up 7-0 in the second quarter when he dove into the end zone from a yard out to cap a 12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up about six minutes.
Newberry responded just before halftime when Zack Chalmers recovered a Chester punt on the Chester 43 yard line, evaded a few would-be Cyclones tacklers through the middle, and took it back the other way to put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.
Chester (8-3) had several opportunities in the second half to seize momentum, but the Cyclones’ offense was unable to score.
Chester quarterback Zan Dunham fumbled midway in Newberry territory with 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Sims picked Dunham off to break up a promising drive late in the third.
The biggest opportunity came with Chester driving near midfield with six minutes left. On fourth and one, Dunham called his own number and stretched for a first down. His attempt was a half-yard short.
The Bulldogs took over on the next drive. On fourth and one for Newberry, Sims made a cut to the right sideline, and used his speed to power into for the decisive score.