Here’s what happened in Friday night’s semi finals.
No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy 42, No. 4 Tattnall Square Academy 21:
Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy outscored Tattnall Square Academy 21-7 in the third quarter to bust open a close game and claim a 42-21 win. The Chargers (13-0) led Tattnall (12-1), 14-7 at the half. On its first drive of the second half, ELCA appeared to have boosted its lead to 21-7 twice, but both scores – a 48-yard run by Trevor Gear and a 54-yard pass from Brayden Rush to Sean Queen – were both called back on penalties.
Tattnall’s ensuing drive was thwarted by a Tre Douglas interception, which he returned to the Trojan 31-yard line. Two plays later Gear darted in from 19 yards out to make it 21-14. But Tattnall responded with an eight-play, 81-yard drive, capped by a Destin Mack’s 12-yard touchdown run to narrow the gap to 21-14, with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But ELCA put the game away, essentially, with two scores in less than 90 seconds. On the first play of the Charger’s next drive, Rush hit Queen on a skinny post route, and the junior speedster raced 73 yards to push the ELCA lead to 28-14. Then, just three plays into Tattnall’s ensuing drive, junior linebacker Caleb Dallas plucked a tipped pass out of the air and returned it 30 yards for a pick-six and a 35-14 lead for the Chargers heading into the fourth quarter.
No. 3 Fellowship Christian 31, No. 2 Prince Avenue Christian 28: Despite failing to score extra points or two-point conversions after four of its touchdowns, Fellowship withstood a furious Prince Avenue rally late in the game.
Fellowship held a 31-7 lead after an Andrew Minkert touchdown run with 5:34 left in the third quarter but then allowed 21 straight points to lead by just three with 5:40 left to play. After a Fellowship punt put the Wolverines on their own 47-yard line with 2:12 to go, the PAC fumbled on first down and Fellowship ran out the clock after gaining two first downs. Fellowship linebacker Trey Robinson recovered the late Thomas Huff fumble on Prince Avenue’s 44-yard line.
Paladins quarterback Jack Hardin rushed for touchdowns of one and four yards and had touchdown passes of 25 yards to Ryan Reid and 11 yards to Merrick Haigler. Additionally, Hardin hit Reid for a key first-down completion on the final possession to help put the game away.
Minkert’s third-quarter touchdown was from five yards out. For PAC, Grant Roland completed touchdown passes of 30 yards to Noah Campbell and 39 yards to Huff, who had the Wolverines’ final score on a 13-yard run. Christian Parrish of PAC had a 40-yard punt return for a score.
No. 1 Macon County 48, No. 4 Emanuel County Institute 26: Macon County is in the state finals for the first time in 20 years. The Bulldogs went into the second quarter with a 14-12 lead, after an ECI missed extra point and a failed two-point conversion that otherwise could’ve tied the game.
With the narrow lead, Macon County scored off a K’hari Lane touchdown to make it 21-12 at the break. To start the second half, the Bulldogs capped a 78-yard drive with an Aukeeveous McClendon touchdown run. ECI would answer back but failed at two point conversation again, making the score 28-18.
Lane connected with Curt McDonald on a 42-yard touchdown pass to add to the Bulldogs’ lead. On the ensuing ECI drive, Jared Daniels would help put this game out of reach with a pick-six for the Bulldogs, giving them a 41-18 lead. Macon County’s seven touchdowns came from three players. Lane finished the night with three total touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. McClendon found the end zone twice on the ground and Jared Daniels scored twice, one off a pick-six and another with a two-yard rush.
No. 6 McIntosh County Academy 24, No. 2 Clinch County 8: Defending Class A-Public state champion Clinch County went scoreless in four trips to the red zone as McIntosh County Academy pulled off the stunner of the night. MCA was dominated by the Panthers 32-7 in Weekl 2. But in Friday’s semifinal, the Buccaneers leaned on their defense to bounce Clinch. MCA set the tone early, stuffing Clinch County on the goal line with 57.9 seconds left in the first quarter. JP Palmer scored three touchdowns including a 56-yard reception to open up the scoring, a 32-yard interception return and a 13-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Valentin Salazar nailed a 37-yard field goal. Clinch’s only score came on a Charles McClelland 20-yard run in the second quarter.