Story by David Shelton
The faces may have changed but the championship results remain.
After losing a host of talented players from last year’s state runner-up team, the Byrnes Rebels returned to the Division I-AAAA title game on Saturday and beat county rival Dorman, 34-14.
Byrnes (13-2) won their third title in the last four years and their seventh since 2002 in dominating the previously unbeaten Cavaliers, who finished with a 14-1 record.
The Rebels rolled up 373 yards in total offense while the defense limited Dorman to only 216 total yards and only 37 yards rushing.
Byrnes senior quarterback Zach Blair completed nine of 13 passes for 145 yards and junior running back Shakeem Wharton added 159 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Byrnes scored on their first possession of the game, an 11-play, 80-yard drive with Wharton scoring from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.
Kaleb Patterson added a 39-yard field goal with 3:33 to play in the first before Dorman got on the board in the second quarter on Adam Humphries’ one-yard run.
Wharton added a five-yard run and Patterson added another 39-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 20-7 lead.
Blair connected with Akia Booker on a 27-yard pass for a 27-7 lead with 2:14 to play in the third, and Wharton added an 11-yard run with 6:18 left for a 34-7 lead.
Dorman scored a late touchdown when Nelson Hughes and Tyla Moore connected on a 57-yard pass with 3:30 to play.
This was the eighth meeting in the last four years between the two teams. Dorman won the regular season matchup, 21-14, and defeated Byrnes in the state finals last season.