PETTICOAT JUNCTION - The tears flowed easily for Dameon Dugar.
The memories of his brother came storming back the moment he crossed the goal line. It was the touchdown he promised he'd score for Markel Dugar, who was buried on Friday.
"That was it. That was it," said Dugar, whose 10-yard touchdown run in the second overtime gave Strom Thurmond a 34-28 victory over Silver Bluff. "I wanted to score one for him. I promised him one."
Markel Dugar died in an automobile accident on Sept. 5 in Alexandria, Va., and Dameon arrived only 10 minutes before kickoff after attending his funeral in Edgefield, S.C.
The junior scored on his team's first play of the second overtime and immediately went to one knee and thrust an index finger skyward in tribute to his brother.
He finished with 70 yards on 15 carries and the most important touchdown of his life as the Rebels, No. 2 in Class AAA, improved to 3-0. Silver Bluff fell to 1-2.
"I told him he didn't have to play," Strom Thurmond coach Brian Smith said. "He was out there on guts alone. He'd just gone to his brother's funeral and he comes out there and plays his guts out."
Dugar's touchdown ended a typically-tough performance from the Bulldogs, who led 21-7 at one point, but couldn't totally stop Strom Thurmond's multi-faceted attack.
Quarterback Damien Bowman rushed for 93 yards and scored three touchdowns, including the one that brought the Rebels to within 28-26 with 4:44 remaining in the game.
He then tossed a 2-point conversion pass to Dugar to tie the game.
Ryght Jordan had another strong performance, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown, but the Bulldogs shut him down in the second half, limiting him to just 9 yards on five carries.
"We had a great defensive game plan," Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said. "You just can't stop that team totally. They're pretty explosive."
Both teams missed field goals in the first overtime and Silver Bluff missed another field goal on its possession in the second overtime.
That set the stage for Dugar's heroics.
"We'd played two straight great games," Smith said. "It's hard to play great every game. They played us great, but we were inconsistent."