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South Pointe beats Hartsville, 38-14, for AAAA football title

ColumbiaSouth Pointe’s football program joined some elite company in the Palmetto State, capturing a fourth consecutive state championship with a 38-14 thumping of Hartsville in the Class AAAA title game at Williams-Brice Stadium on December 2nd.

South Pointe (15-0) joined the likes of Byrnes, Woodruff, Florence, Dillon and Christ Church to win four consecutive state titles. Head coach Strait Herron has been in charge throughout the run but deflected credit.

“We joined an elite group of teams and the credit goes to our players and coaches,” Herron said. “I am extremely proud. This is a very deserving group.”

Senior quarterback Derion Kendrick, headed to Clemson, completed 14 of 17 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns while adding 119 yards and a score on the ground to pace the Stallions. Joe Ervin added 78 yards rushing as South Pointe totaled 343 yards in the game.

Hartsville (13-2) was limited to 222 total yards, 177 of that on the ground. Junior running back Tiyon Evans, a 2000-yard rusher, gained 80 yards on the ground.

Hartsville opened the game with an onside kick, hoping to catch an early momentum against the heavily favored Stallions. South Pointe recovered the kick and needed only seven plays to cover 49 yards with Kendrick scoring on an 11-yard run less than three minutes into the game.

“We had to steal a few possessions because they are so explosive,” Hartsville coach Jeff Calabrese said. “We felt like that was a way to get an extra possession with the onside kick and it didn’t work out. Getting down two scores early to that team is pretty hard to overcome.”

After a three-and-out, South Pointe added a second early score with Kendrick hitting Scott Robinson on a 14-yard pass, giving the Stallions a 14-0 lead with 5:46 to play in the first quarter.

Hartsville cut the lead to 14-7 on quarterback AJ Joyner’s four-yard run with 4:04 left in the second period but South Pointe upped the lead to 21-7 with a 66-yard drive as Marice Whitlock scored from a yard out just 1:22 before halftime.

Midway through the third, Ty Good caught a two-yard pass from Kendrick for a 28-7 lead and Whitlock caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Kendrick for a 35-7 lead with 2:45 left in the third.

“We played the second-half very well,” Herron said. “We came to play and played well. Really proud of the seniors who have been on all four of these teams. It’s going to be different without them. They won a lot of football games.

“Defense did a great job. Coach (Jason) Winstead has had a bead on Hartsville’s offense for all three times we have played them. Our defense was solid all season.”

Placekicker B.T. Potter added a 23-yard field goal and Hartsville tacked on a late score for the final margin.

While crediting his players and coaching staff for their effort and commitment to success, Herron says there are many others outside the program that lend a major hand to the winning.

“There is a lot of dedication to it,” the coach said. “I have to give all the props to my wife. Without her I would not be able to do this. It’s hard and I couldn’t do this without Bridget. She’s the best,”

For Hartsville, a team with only 11 seniors this season, the future remains positive. The Red Foxes have played in the finals four times since 2012.

“We came with the expectation to win the game so we are obviously disappointed,” Calabrese said. “South Pointe has a great football team. They deserved to win tonight. But I am really proud of our football team. There are no moral victories at Hartsville High School. We came to win but we just got out-played tonight. We fought hard, played hard. It just didn’t work out for us.”

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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