Christ Church will play for a fourth consecutive state championship Friday night, and senior defensive back Will Wynkoop certainly isn’t about to take the opportunity for granted.
“You dream about just getting one,” he said. “I’ve talked to some of the guys that graduated last year, and they’ll say that they have three state championships, and people just don’t even believe them, so saying four would just be ridiculous.
“We’d just be so thankful to have that. I know all these guys worked so hard, and we’d love to have that happen.”
They also know it won’t be easy. Heck, just getting to play the game has been somewhat of long, winding road.
But Christ Church (13-0), which has won a state-record 53 consecutive games, and Bamberg-Ehrhardt (12-1) are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday in the Class A Division I state final at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Benedict College in Columbia.
The game was supposed to have been played this past Friday, but a protest had been filed by two schools questioning the eligibility of a B-E player. On Tuesday, the South Carolina High School League ruled the player was eligible, and the game was scheduled for Friday.
Christ Church coach Don Frost said B-E reminds him of McBee, which the Cavaliers defeated 35-6 in the Upper State final.
“The McBee game was definitely a test for us,” Frost said. “We got to see somebody that’s going to run the football. They may run it harder. But it was a good comparison.”
“We’re in the spread just like Christ Church is in the spread,” said B-E coach Kevin Crosby. “They’re probably doing the same thing we’re doing, seeing how many plays they can get in.”
Except that Christ Church quarterbacks Andrew Slade and Ian Miller have combined to throw for 2,548 yards and 40 touchdowns. B-E quarterback Garrett Zeigler has passed for 390 yards and five touchdowns. He’s attempted 80 passes, an average of 6.2 per game.
The Red Raiders clearly prefer to run, and they do it well. Jamari Dunbar has rushed for 1,418 yards and 17 touchdowns, and Rayquan Brown has rushed for 1,325 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Cavaliers’ chief offensive weapons include Shrine Bowl receiver Rudy Johnstone, who has 49 receptions and is also a threat on returns; versatile Dorien Dickey, who’s averaging 11 yards per carry; and wideouts Braxton Westfield and Bobby Hudson.
Joshua Jackson leads an undersized but determined defense with 119 tackles and 28 tackles for loss, and Zachary Idris has a team-high 12 sacks.
“They come from everywhere,” Crosby said. “They come from outside, inside, and it seems like they’ve got about 14 or 15 on the field.”