DUNCAN Players on this year’s Spartanburg High football team hadn’t even begun elementary school the last time the Vikings defeated Byrnes.
And although they won’t remember the 2001 victory, the one they earned Thursday night won’t soon be forgotten.
In front of a packed house at Nixon Field, Spartanburg, the state’s top-ranked Class AAAA team, ended its 14-year losing streak to the Rebels with a 17-7 triumph.
A matchup of high-powered offenses was instead a defensive battle in the first half. Spartanburg (6-0, 2-0) scored on its first possession when quarterback Austin Scott hooked up with Marcellus Wilson for an 8-yard touchdown.
Byrnes (5-1, 1-1) scored the only other points of the first half on an 11-play, 70-yard drive that was kept alive on a fourth-down pass interference call against Spartanburg. Two plays later, quarterback Micah Young scored on a 1-yard run. Thomas Cook’s extra point tied the score at 7-7.
The Vikings scored the only points of the second half on their first two possessions of the third quarter. Running back Tavien Feaster, who has committed to Clemson, scored on an 11-yard run to make the score 14-7.
Following a punt attempt that Byrnes was unable to get off in time, the Vikings pushed their lead to 17-7 on a 27-yard field goal by Will Lawson with 5:36 remaining in the quarter.
Spartanburg, the defending Class AAAA Division II state champion, was on the verge of adding another score midway through the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-goal at the Byrnes 1-yard line, Scott was stopped six inches short on a quarterback sneak.
Down 10 points and needing to move the ball 99 yards to close the gap, Byrnes quickly moved the ball down the field with several on-target passes by Young. What happened on his last pass sealed the game, however.
After hauling in Young’s pass, Byrnes senior Bouvier Howard sprinted towards the end zone. He was hit and fumbled moments before crossing the goal line. Spartanburg recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
The Rebels had one more possession but were unable to put together another scoring threat.