ROCK HILL, SC – Octavious Morgan ran for 103 yards and one touchdown, and returned a kick 65 yards for a touchdown, leading the No. 3 Greenwood Eagles to the program’s third consecutive Division II, 4A State Championship game appearance, knocking off No. 2 South Pointe Friday night in Rock Hill.
“He is a special player,” Greenwood Head Coach Gene Cathcart said. “We are proud of what he has done as a player, but more proud of the person he has become.”
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Eagles drove deep into Stallions territory. With a fourth and goal from the one yard line, the Eagles went for it and came up short, giving the ball to South Pointe.
The Stallions, however, were unable to capitalize and were forced to punt. The Eagles drove deep into Stallions territory once again on the ensuing possession. Morgan scored his first touchdown of the night, finding the end zone from one yard out, giving the visiting Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Stallions high-powered passing attack would respond on the following possession, as quarterback Devin Pearson found Trinity Shannon for a three yard touchdown pass, tying the game at seven.
Greenwood would take the lead with 6:31 left in the second quarter when Thomas Turner found Aaron Broadwater in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown, giving the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
After the Eagles defense forced a three and out, Morgan went back to work on offense, breaking free for 51 yards down to the Stallions three-yard line. Lorenzo Mathis would score on the following play, extending the lead to 21-7.
The Stallions would quickly answer, as Pearson connected with Shannon for the second time, this time from 80 yards out, narrowing the Eagles lead to 21-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Morgan fielded the kick and sprung free up the left sideline, going 65 yards untouched for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 28-14 halftime lead.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Pearson tossed his third touchdown of the night, finding P.J. Heath from 34 yards out, shrinking the lead to 28-21. The Stallions recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but were unable to fully capitalize, settling for a 21 yard field goal, making the score 28-24 with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
Mathis scored his third touchdown of the night early in the fourth quarter, as he found the end zone via a nine-yard scamper, extending the Eagles lead to 35-24. The play was set up by a Markevious Adams 75 yard reception from Turner. Turner, playing in place of injured starter Evin Sims, finished the night with198 yards passing and one touchdown, completing 7-15 passes.
“He (Turner) was thrown in a tough spot,” Cathcart said. “It was week 14 and he only had one start under his belt. He (Turner) rose to the occasion tonight.”
The Stallions would score for the final time on the night via a one-yard Pearson run, cutting the lead to 35-30 after a failed two point conversion attempt. The Eagles offense ran out the clock on the following possession, securing their spot in next Saturday’s Division II, 4A State Championship game against Northwestern. The game will be played at the University of South Carilina’s Williams-Brice Stadium.
“We have a special group of young men,” Cathcart said. “They have won 49 games in four years. It was great to come here tonight against a great team, and get a big win.”