Story by David Shelton
Central High of Pageland capped a perfect season with a thrilling, come-from-behind win over Dillon in the AA state championship game, played at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Central scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the game to win, 20-17.
After Dillon took a seemingly commanding, 17-7 lead with 3:17 to play in the game, Central moved 78 yards on 11 plays and quarterback Jowan Henderson scored on a 10-yard run with 1:23 to play, cutting the margin to 17-14.
Dillon recovered the onside kick but Central had two timeouts. After the first timeout, with 1:13 remaining, Dillon attempted to seal the game with a pass towards the sideline. The ball was tipped up in the air and intercepted by Central’s De’aja Blakeney, who returned the ball to the Dillon 25. A personal foul penalty on Dillon gave Central a first down at the Dillon 12 with :57 left in the game.
Three plays later, Mardu Smith scored on a one-yard run with :37 left to give Central the three-point victory.
Henderson finished the game with 54 yards rushing and 51 yards passing for Central, while Radford Robinson had 91 yards rushing.
Dillon sophomore running back Jabo Lee rushed for 137 yards to pace the Wildcats attack. Quarterback Tyquan Hayes completed 11-of-18 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Dillon out-gained Central, 310-260, in total yardage.
The Wildcats took an early 10-0 lead on a 30-yard pass from Hayes to Quincy Bethea and a 36-yard field from T. J. Grimsley.
Robinson’s 40-yard run with 5:38 left in the second quarter trimmed the margin to 10-7 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Hayes put Dillon up, 17-7, on a 29-yard pass to Kwinton Smith with 3:17 left in the game.
Dillon, the reigning two-time defending state champion, closes the season at 14-1. Dillon defeated Central in the last two title games.