Julian Austin and the Patriots celebrate another playoff win.
(Photo by Michael Clifton / www.kombatkamera.com)
The Sandy Creek Patriots football team advanced to the AAAA semifinals following a gritty performance against Burke County on Friday night that ended in a final score of 31-20.
"Our guys played great," said Patriots Coach Chip Walker, whose team improved to 13-0 after the win. "It was unbelievable how hard they played."
Patriots receiver Demarre Kitt left his mark all over the game with over 100 receiving and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score for SC early in the fourth quarter.
SC also got good production from the running game as both Delvin Weems and Eric Swinney reached the end zone for Walker's team.
"I can't say enough about our football team," Walker said. " Our coaching staff, our fans and our program put us back in the semifinals where we wanted to be."
Despite the outcome, Burke's sensational quarterback Donquell Green was as advertised as he accounted for all three Bears' touchdowns, including a 65-yard bomb to Dimitri Butts that highlighted an assertive third quarter by the Bears.
"Defensively we had a couple of lapses here and there but overall we did a great job," Walker said.
Burke jumped out to the early lead after Green shed multiple Patriots defenders en route to a 44-yard scoring run. SC responded by orchestrating an 84-yard drive that resulted in a five yard TD pass to Kitt which knotted things at 7-7 with 1:21 left in the first quarter.
The Patriots gained their first lead of the game after a 22-yard TD run by Weems made the score 14-7. Mitchell McMillin tacked on a 25-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-7 with 2:31 remaining in the first half.
With two minutes before halftime, Green marched the Bears 50 yards down the field before hooking up with Butts for a 25-yard TD pass that, after the failed extra point, cut the Patriots lead to 17-13 at intermission.
The third quarter was all Bears as their defense muzzled SC, which ultimately allowed the offense to regain a 20-17 lead.
The Patriots offense returned to form to begin the fourth quarter after Cole Garvin connected with Kitt on a shallow out route which he manifested into a long TD run that put SC back on top 24-20 with 10:25 left in the game.
"Demarre made big play and it gave us momentum," Walker said. "Then our offensive line and our backs just kept pounding and pounding the football. "
From there the Patriots defense rose to the occasion and promptly stifled Green and company for the remainder of the game. Swinney added a 33-yard score with 5:58 to seal the Patriots victory.
Sandy Creek will host Monroe Area next.
"We want to play two more weeks," said Walker about his teams preparation for the rest of the playoffs.