FLORENCE, S.C. — The Florence and Hartsville all-star football teams picked up state championships Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Florence got a big game from Jordan Burch and another strong defensive performance in defeating Lancaster 20-0 for the 8-10-year-old Division II championship. It’s the second straight state championship for Florence.
“To go back-to-back says a lot about the kids we have in Florence,” Florence coach Raymond Brigman said. “The 9-, 10- and 11-year-old group, when they hit high school, they are going to be outstanding. We got some outstanding athletes here in Florence.”
A week after watching the Hartsville High School Red Foxes win a state title, the Hartsville 11-12-year-olds got its own championship by defeating Abbeville 28-20 to win the Division I championship. It’s Hartsville’s first 11-12-year-old state championship.
“We are the only team in the Pee Dee that can say we won championships in both levels,” Hartsville coach Casey Hawkins said. “What a great bunch of kids. They have been playing together for the last three or four years.”
Lamar nearly made it a sweep for Pee Dee teams but fell to Abbeville 20-14 in triple overtime in the 8-10-year-old Division I championship.
Saturday’s championships marked the first time Florence has hosted the event.
Florence 20, Lancaster 0
Burch rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Quentin Hodge threw for 97 yards and a touchdown as Florence repeated as state champions.
Florence took control of the game early by scoring on its first two possessions. Burch got Florence on the board with a 35-yard run to make it 6-0 with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
On its second possession, Hodge hit Shaquan Hardy on a 77-yard touchdown pass to make it 12-0 with 6:41 left in the second quarter. Burch capped Florence’s scoring with an 8-yard TD in the second half.
“He is just a step above,” Brigman said of Burch. “He’s big, physical and a great kid. He will do anything you ask him to do.”
Florence’s defense, coached by Joe Edick, turned another strong performance, limiting Lancaster to 27 yards of total offense for its fourth shutout in five postseason games. Myrtle Beach was the only team to score against Florence during its championship run.
“We shut them down,” Brigman said. “Our defense has been great all year long. I am very happy with coach Edick and that defensive side of the ball.”
Hartsville 28, Abbeville 20
Hartsville used big plays to win its first state championship as all of Hartsville’s touchdowns were 24 yards or more, including Collins Bishop’s 81-yard run in the fourth quarter to put Hartsville up 22-14 with 3:31 left to play.
Abbeville answered on its next possession as Monoletto Rapley Jr. scored on a 24-yard run, but Hartsville stopped Rapley on the two-point conversion to give the Red Foxes a 22-20 lead with 3:12 left to play.
Bishop sealed the win on Hartsville’s next possession with a 46-yard scamper to give the Red Foxes a 28-20 advantage with 2:02 left. Bishop finished with 140 yards rushing.
Ja’Quez Brockington added two scores, including an 85-yard return on the game’s opening kick.
“Our running backs, Colin and Ja’Quez, we don’t really have to even block for them. Just get in the way little and they can go,” Hawkins said.
Abbeville 20, Lamar 14 (3 OT)
Jhaylan Shuler’s 10-yard run in the third overtime gave Abbeville the win in the 8-10-year-old Division I title game.
Lamar had a chance to tie or win it after Shuler’s touchdown but was stopped on downs. Lamar got the ball to the 8-yard line but a bad snap on second down pushed the ball back to the 20.
“Three-overtime game, you can’t get any better than that,” Lamar coach William Peoples said. “Hats off to Abbeville, but our kids gave it everything they had and have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Michael Temple added 59 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 2-yarder to put Abbeville up 14-6 in the first overtime.
But Lamar answered on its first play of overtime on D.J. Green’s 10-yard TD run, and Anthony Mack’s two-point conversion tied it 14-14 to send it to double overtime.
Green finished with 107 yards on 17 carries and also picked off two passes on defense.
“He has been toting us all through the year and he brought it all today,” Peoples said. “He didn’t leave anything on the field.”
Neither team scored in double overtime before Shuler scored on Abbeville’s first possession of the third overtime.