PETTICOAT JUNCTION — Silver Bluff is headed back to the Class AA, Division II state championship for the second time in three years after taking down Marion 28-12 Friday in the Lower State championship.
“It feels good. We get to redeem ourselves from two years ago,” said senior DeAngilo Drayton, who was on the Bulldogs’ state title runner-up team in 2013. “It was our main goal. It was our No. 1 mission from day one.”
Said Silver Bluff head coach Al Lown: “It’s really rewarding; the kids have worked hard. It was a physical game out there tonight, and I was proud of our effort.”
The Bulldogs (10-3) picked up right where they left off in last week’s win and wasted no time establishing themselves against the Swamp Foxes.
Keeping the ball in the hands of Devonte Hill and Drayton, they struck on two quick scoring drives to open the contest. Hill finished off the first series, a six-play, 45-yard drive, with a 2-yard score and also punctuated the second with a 1-yard scoring run, giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
While Hill ended both drives, Drayton did his part in helping move the ball between the 20s. The senior totaled 122 yards on the two series with 81 coming through the air and 41 on the ground.
The Swamp Foxes (9-4) had an answer on their first possession of the second quarter, though, as they opened the period with an eight-play, 86-yard drive to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-6. Ronnie King provided the touchdown on a connection with D’Ante Allen.
Silver Bluff regained its momentum over the final six minutes of the half. It answered Marion’s score with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that featured another touchdown from Hill. Senior defensive back Darnell Davis then intercepted King on the second play of the ensuing possession, which led to a 47-yard touchdown run from Malik Washington and a 28-6 lead at the half.
Marion provided the final margin with a 14-play, 96-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard run from Allen midway through the fourth quarter.
Lown said he was pleased with the way his defense played against an offense he said had big-play potential.
“We made some big plays,” he said. “They were tough to stop and we knew that. (The defense) made some big plays for us there, and we’re happy, man.”
Silver Bluff finished the night with 361 yards of total offense, 280 of which came on the ground. Drayton led the way with 117 yards while Hill and Washington added 90 and 67, respectively.
The Bulldogs were limited to 95 rushing yards over the final two quarters, but Lown said he was pleased with the effort from the three backs and offense as a whole.
“They slowed us down, the second half wasn’t as good,” he said. “But overall, I’m still extremely pleased.”
The win sets the Bulldogs up with a rematch against Abbeville for the state title. Abbeville won the team’s meeting during the first week of the season, 28-6.
“We get (a chance) to redeem ourselves against Abbeville,” Drayton said. “We lost to them earlier in the season and we get a second chance.”
The game will be played at 6 p.m. Saturday at Benedict College in Columbia.
M 0 6 0 6—12
SB 14 14 0 0—28
SB - Devonte Hill 2 run (Eric Robinson kick good) 9:36.
SB – Devonte Hill 1 run (Robinson kick good) 3:15.
M – Ronnie King 39 pass D’Ante Allen (Janarick Reed run no good) 7:54.
SB – Devonte Hill 4 run (Robinson kick blocked) 3:09.
SB – Malik Washington 47 run (Hill run good) :50.
M – D’Ante Allen 3 run (Allen run no good) 6:36.
M – Janarick Reed 24-110, D’Ante Allen 7-45 TD, Yamasi Buey 6-44, Ronnie King 4- -1, Harold Mearite 2-10. Total: 43-208 TD.
SB – DeAngilo Drayton 18-117, Devonte Hill 18-90 3TDs, Malik Washington 5-67 TD, Malcolm Green 4-6. Total: 45-280 4TDs.
M – Ronnie King 6-13 95 TD INT, Yamasi Buey 1-1 47.
SB – Malcolm Green 1-2 81.
M – D’Ante Allen 2-47 TD, Janarick Reed 2-10, Dahndray Foxworth 1-47, Yamasi Buey 2-38.
SB – DeAngilo Drayton 1-81.
SB – Darnell Davis.