WOODRUFF, S.C. — Needing only a field goal for the lead with only about a minute remaining, Woodruff got a touchdown instead.
The Wolverines took two plays to set the ball up in the middle of the field for a kick, but then Shun Tribble ran around the left side from the 5-yard line and found the end zone with 1:01 left to provide a 41-34 win in the Class AA state semifinals against Strom Thurmond in a matchup of unbeatens.
Woodruff (13-0), playing in the Upper State championship game for the third time in four seasons, advanced to the state title game Friday against Timberland at Benedict College.
The Rebels (12-1), despite opening the game with an onside kick that failed and gave Woodruff favorable field position for a 3-0 lead, started strong with touchdowns on their first two possessions to go up, 14-3. Quarterback Raleigh Yeldell and running back Malcolm Watkins had touchdown runs from the 1 and 10, respectively.
Woodruff took a 17-14 lead on a 14-play drive and after Strom Thurmond fumbled the kickoff, the Wolverines scored again on the next snap. It was 27-14 later in the second quarter when the Rebels started to come back.
Yeldell threw a 16-yard pass to Ty Brooks to knot the game at 27 and a 13-yarder to Marquez Mathis to tie it again at 34 in the third quarter. The Rebels failed to score on their final four possessions, however. They had to punt with 3:15 remaining and Woodruff only had to go 42 yards for the winning score.