By David Shelton
Special to Sportstalk Media Network
Columbia – Two of the most high-powered offenses in Class AAAA met in the state championship game on Dec. 3 at Benedict College as top-ranked and undefeated South Florence battled second-ranked Northwestern. The two offenses did not disappoint the huge crowd on hand.
South Florence won their first-ever state championship, out-scoring Northwestern, 57-30. The Bruins finished 15-0 on the season while Northwestern was 13-2.
South Florence quarterback LaNorris Sellers completed his senior season as one of the most productive players in the state. Sellers completed 10-of-14 passes for 260 yards and five touchdowns while adding 192 yards rushing and a score in leading an offensive output of 583 total yards.
Evin Singletary had five catches, three for scores, and 126 yards while Jayden Sellers had four catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
South Florence was 10-of-14 on third down and possessed the ball for nearly 31 minutes.
Northwestern sophomore quarterback Finley Polk threw for 216 yards and two scores but only 21 yards in the second half. Elijah Caldwell had nine receptions for 63 yards.
Offense was hot and heavy throughout the first half as the teams combined for 573 yards in the first two quarters. There were eight combined touchdowns with six coming from at least 20 yards.
South Florence opened the scoring with 8:38 left in the first quarter when Sellers hit Singletary with a 33-yard pass, capping an eight-play, 58-yard drive.
Northwestern need a minute to respond on just three plays when Polk combined with Jayden Burris on a 73-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed leaving South Florence with a 7-6 lead.
Four minutes later, Sellers found brother Jayden on a 31-yard pass, taking a 14-6 lead, but Northwestern answered with Zilon Arnold’s one-yard run with 11:56 to play in the second quarter.
Again, the brothers Sellers hooked up, this time on a 39-yard scoring pass, pushing South Florence to a 21-13 lead with eight minutes left in the half.
The Bruins later got a 26-yard run by Shilow, this after Sellers’ 67-yard run, and the Bruins led, 28-13 with 3:41 to play.
Polk found Caldwell on a 24-yard pass to cut the lead to 28-20, but just before halftime, Sellers had a seven-yard run to give the Bruins a 35-20 lead at the break.
Sellers totaled 140 rushing yards and 115 passing yards in the first half, while Polk threw for 195 yards, completing 13-of-16 passes.
Caldwell opened the second half with an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 35-27.
Later in the third, after stopping South Florence at the one-yard line, the Trojans were saddled with a safety when Polk threw the ball away from the end zone, giving the Bruins a 37-27 lead.
After Northwestern got a 19-yard field goal from Caleb Rodriguez, the Bruins closed the game with three touchdowns over the final 8:17 of the game. Sellers tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Singletary and Shilow had a six-yard run to close out the scoring.