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Strom Thurmond falls to Woodruff

Woodruff 41, Strom Thurmond 34

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WOODRUFF, S.C. — Needing only a field goal for the lead with only about a minute remaining, Woodruff got a touchdown instead.

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Strom Thurmond's Raleigh Yeldell runs against Woodruff. The Rebels' season ended with the defeat.  MIKE BONNER/SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL
Strom Thurmond's Raleigh Yeldell runs against Woodruff. The Rebels' season ended with the defeat.

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.

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