ORANGEBURG — Move over, Coach James Hewitt. You’re no longer the most recent head coach to take Williston-Elko to the state crown.
After trailing Scott’s Branch after one half by the same final score as the year before, the Blue Devils turned it up and outscored the Eagles 28-12 in the second half behind Dexter Staley, Tamyn Garrick and Demetrius Facison. But, it came down to one last desperate heave from Scott’s Branch that sailed over everybody and that sealed the win 34-26. It is the first state title for the Blue Devils since 1980 and the first perfect season since 1979.
“That makes it even better,” said W-E head coach and athletic director Dwayne Garrick. “We’re going to celebrate, and I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Mr. Staley’s three yard touchdown scamper and Kendrick Salley’s subsequent (and critical) two point conversion gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game after 43:57 had elapsed. It would prove to be a lead that the Blue & White would never again surrender.
The Eagles’ Quentin Singleton, who already scored three touchdowns rushing the football, scored his fourth overall touchdown of the day after quarterback Jerell Adams caught a 63 yard bomb from Mr. Singleton on a fourth down play.
Scott’s Branch then attempted an onside kick. It failed.
The Blue Devils then tried to run the clock out. Mr. Staley put the dagger on the game with a 49 yard touchdown run on the left side with just 25 seconds left.
“He said that we can’t lose to this team two times in a row,” said Mr. Staley, who finished with 134 yards on 17 carries. “After losing last year, we’ve been thinking all season to get back to state. We got the team we wanted to play to get payback, and we did. But we really overlooked Scott’s Branch (today). They’re way better than their (8-5) record. We had to work really hard to come out on top.”
Marcus Bates and Darryl Salley led the defense with 14 tackles apiece, while Shamel Harley added 13 and Andrea Williams made 10 stops.
“It means a lot to get this game,” said Mr. Salley. “Everybody will be trying to real hard against us next year, and we’ll look forward to it.”
Until Friday, the Devils closest win was 18 points over Hunter-Kinard-Tyler on October 2. Coach Garrick said that the eight point win was what made the championship win extra special.
“But I would rather win by 30 points,” he said with a grin. “This was way too stressful. But the people who paid $8 today got to see some great football.”
Well done, Blue Devils! Hopefully, Williston-Elko can do it again in 2010!