SIMPSONVILLE – Connor Holden was gliding across the field at Southside Christian School, his feeling of euphoria almost tangible.
“It’s all a dream really,” the Sabres’ senior wide receiver said. “I couldn’t imagine in a thousand years this would happen.”
It wasn’t a dream. Southside Christian defeated McBee 56-26 Friday night to win the Class A Division I Upper State championship.
The Sabres (12-1), who had never won a playoff game in their nine previous varsity seasons, are headed to the state final. They will play Allendale-Fairfax next Saturday at noon at Benedict College.
“It’s awesome,” said Holden, who had eight catches for 163 yards. “I would never want to do this with anyone else. I grew up with these boys. It’s an awesome team win.”
Junior quarterback Clayton Coulter completed 14 of 22 passes for 279 yards, including touchdowns of 21 and 3 yards to Holden, 10 yards to Cooper Jackson and 62 yards to Braeden Bosier. Coulter also ran for scores of 11 and 7 yards.
“Clayton Coulter, he was on target,” SCS coach Jason Kaiser said. “He’s been on target the last four weeks.”
Senior running back Quintyn Reeder had 16 carries for 183 yards, including touchdown runs of 1 and 91 yards. He had a scoring run of at least 90 yards for the second game in a row.
“My wide receivers open up the running game,” Reeder said. “When they start keying in on Connor and other wide receivers like Cooper, that gives me the ability to make great plays.
McBee went ahead 18-14 on Shrine Bowl running back Jordan Fair’s 69-yard touchdown run with 10:11 to go in the second quarter, and the Panthers didn’t score again until there were two-tenths of a second remaining.
“I would never have predicted us to be able to score like that and to hold them,” Kaiser said. “I mean, 18 points and then they scored on our third and fourth string?
“I’m proud of the kids, I’m proud of the coaching staff and I give God the glory for what happened tonight. We were able to stop them. What can you say? That’s an unbelievable team. That’s an unbelievable offense with great running backs, and we stopped them.”
“We practice getting low on these runners, because we knew they were going to be hard runners,” said senior free safety Jordan Clawson. “It was just being in the right place at the right time, a lot of discipline.”