The South Carolina players waited to storm the field. Their coaches whirled their arms around in a circle, signaling a moving clock and pleading for the big one on the scoreboard to move.
After stopping Georgia quarterback Matlin Marshall, of Evans, around the 1, the clock stopped at 5.8 seconds for a few moments before it continued and ran out to give South Carolina a 12-8 win at Border Bowl II on Saturday at Lucy C. Laney Memorial Stadium.
“I kept telling them the whole way down there, ‘You give them all the yards they want, just can’t cross that goal line,’ ” said South Carolina coach Jeremy West, formerly the head coach at South Aiken. “They didn’t. I’m proud of them.”
Trib Reece of North Augusta, gave South Carolina the 12-8 lead when he dove toward the pylon and reached just far enough for the 6-yard score as 2:45 remained.
After that, both teams had to nervously finish the final few minutes.
Marshall, who had more than 200 total yards, had given Georgia the 8-6 lead when he threw a 40-yard touchdown to Lakeside’s B.J. Raymond, who avoided stumbling to the ground and ran into the end zone.
Then, on the final drive, Marshall bounced off tacklers for a 34-yard run down to the South Carolina 18.
Georgia had four snaps at or inside the South Carolina 10, but the defense held strong, especially on the last play when Marshall scrambled.
“You get a little nervous, but these are the best kids in South Carolina, so we got the best defense for sure,” Reece said.
The frantic end followed a slow offensive start.
Only slants to and a nice catch from Midland Valley’s Kameron Brown prevented a scoreless opening two quarters. Brown had 125 receiving yards and was offensive player of the game.
With South Carolina at its 22 with 4:10 left in the second quarter, he had four catches on the drive, including a 34-yard highlight from a Reece throw down to the Georgia 1.
South Carolina ran it in on the next play for a 6-0 lead.
Before then, neither team could finish any positive starts.
Rasool Clemons, the defensive player of the game from South Aiken, halted Georgia’s first possession with a sack. After that, Lakeside’s Stephen Houzah abruptly ended South Carolina’s chance on the ensuing series with a pick of Reece around the goal line.
Penalties then silenced an opportunity for Georgia that started at the South Carolina 24. Instead of scoring, Georgia moved backward and had to punt from its 40.
That set up South Carolina’s score.
Georgia finally got on board in the third quarter when South Carolina fell on its own fumble in the end zone for a safety. It became a battle of punts from there until the hectic last few minutes.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Lakeside coach Steve Hibbitts, who led the Georgia squad. “They fought at the end. Hey, all you can say is, hat’s off to them. But I’m proud of our guys.”