Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Carvers Bay will play for the Class A state title for the first time since 2008 after beating Allendale-Fairfax 26-14 last week.
The Bears jumped out to the lead early in the game.
Chris Carter scored a touchdown on a blocked punt and Israel Davis ran it in from 2 yards out to give Carvers Bay a 12-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
After a Bears' drive started by an interception stalled at the 4-yard-line, Allendale-Fairfax drove 96 yards for their only score of the half.
“It was hard,” said senior Hikeem Hampton. “They brought it to us.”
The Bears took the opening kickoff of the second half and kept the ball for 5 minutes before Devin Cuttino scored to extend the lead to 20-8.
Carvers Bay coach James “Nate” Thompson said that touchdown was “huge.”
“We had two or three chances when we should have gotten into the end zone and we didn't,”
he said. “We challenged our offense. We said when we get the ball in the second half we've got to score.”
The Tigers cut the lead to 20-14 with a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Another Cuttino touchdown with 1:30 left in the game sealed the Lower State title for the Bears.
“[Devin is] our horse,” Thompson said. “We work everybody, but when it comes time to go, that's our horse. He delivers. … He's a very big part of our football [team], both on offense and defense.”
“We came out here and played our game,” Cuttino said. “First half we had some mistakes. Second half we came out here and played a better ball game.”
“We earned it tonight,” said senior Naquez Pringle. “We played every down. We didn't let them score no more. I'm proud of my boys right now. It's an exciting moment. … I love them boys to death for helping me get this. I've got to help them boys get this ring.”
Carvers Bay will play Christ Church for the state title Friday at Benedict College in Columbia. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.
“We've just got to still take it one game at a time,” Pringle said. “We've got one more mission, and that's to take out Christ Church.”
None of this year's Bears were at the school the last time Carvers Bay played for a state title, so Thompson said it's important to take the players to the stadium early to soothe their nerves.
“[Let them] walk the sidelines, let them run around and realize 'hey, it's just like home. It's only a hundred yards. Don't worry about the stands and the people. … Sometimes you've got to take out that shock factor from them.”
His advice to his team?
“You're at state. Just play your best. Don't worry about other things and other places. Just come to play and do your best. Make your school proud, make your parents
proud and make your community proud. That's what you're here for.”