SAVANNAH, Ga. — Leading by two points with 45 seconds left, Savannah Christian coach Donald Chumley faced a third and 24 at the Lincoln County 47-yard line.
It wasn’t a time to take a big risk, so Chumley called Nardo Govan’s number.
He responded with the play of the year for Savannah Christian.
Govan bulldozed his way through the line, dragged a would-be tackler into the second wave of defenders and broke free for a 47-yard touchdown.
The run put the finishing touches on a 22-14 win over Lincoln County in the Class A state quarterfinals.
The Raiders (13-0) will face Prince Avenue Christian in the state semifinal next week.
“We were just trying to move the chains and eat up the clock,” said Govan, who rushed for 131 yards and the score on 10 carries. “I saw a little daylight and then I had a linebacker on my ankles. I tried to keep my knees pumping, and he fell off me. I could feel them breathing down my neck, but I was able to score.”
Lincoln County (12-1) had one more chance, but with no time outs and starting from their own 35-yard line with 35 seconds left, the Red Devils saw their season end at midfield.
It was the third year in a row that Savannah Christian has beaten Lincoln County in the Class A quarterfinals.
Savannah Christian’s first-team defense surrendered its first touchdown of the year early on to Lincoln County.
The Red Devils took advantage of a short field in the first quarter when the Raiders went for it on fourth and 2 on its own 37. Quarterback Johnathon Chamblee’s sneak fell just short of the first down marker.
Three plays later, Lincoln County quarterback Denzel Gunby found running back Craig Jones open on a screen pass, and Jones found a crease, scoring from 22 yards out to give Lincoln County a 7-0 lead.
The Red Devils scored on a similar play, with Gunby connecting with Jones from 20 yards out to cut the Raider lead to 16-14 at the end of the third quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Savannah Christian nose tackle DeAngelo Brown said. “We knew they had a good offense that might score on us. But we never got down on each other. I’m proud of the way we played, it was a great game.”
Savannah Christian rallied midway through the second quarter. On a third and 10, running back Will Austin (13 carries for 101 yards) spun out of a pair of tackles for a determined gain of 15.
On the next play, Govan found space up the right sideline for a 25-yard gain.
Chamblee (20 rushes for 78 yards and two scores) finished it off by breaking a couple tackles on his way to a 12-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, kicker Mac Miller executed a nice onside kick and came out of the scrum with the ball.
“I didn’t know where it was, then it was right there,” said Miller, who also connected on a vital 29-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. “I was holding onto that ball so tight I could feel it squishing in my hands.”
Govan ran for 28 yards on the 50-yard drive that followed, and Chamblee took it in from 9 yards out for the score, lunging across the goal line with a dive. The extra point failed because of a bad snap, and the Raiders led, 13-7.
Savannah Christian’s defense shut down the Red Devil running game, allowing just 20 yards on the ground.
The Red Devils stayed alive with some big plays in the passing game.
Gunby completed 10 of 24 passes for 176 yards.