Originally created 12/08/96

Abbeville never gave Allendale-Fairfax a chance



For the second consecutive year, a Region 6-AA team lost 35-0 in the Class AA state championship game.

Top-ranked and unbeaten Abbeville (15-0) completed a dominating season with an equally impressive performance in a 35-0 win over Allendale-Fairfax for the Class AA state championship Friday.

Last season, Batesburg-Leesville crushed Barnwell, 35-0, on its way to a 15-0 season in the Class AA state championship contest.

Abbeville never gave Allendale-Fairfax a chance. Allendale-Fairfax actually held Abbeville on the first possession of the game and forced it to punt, but the Tigers fumbled on the punt and Abbeville's Matt Horne recovered at the Allendale-Fairfax 20 yard line.

"We stopped them and then we fumbled the punt and they recovered," Allendale-Fairfax coach Barry Avant said. "That put us in a hole and shook our confidence early."

The Tigers defense held as Abbeville's Jon-Paul Bowles missed a 41-yard field goal. But that sequence set the tone for the game.

"We didn't have any field positions at all," Avant said. Allendale-Fairfax had four three-and-out possessions and an interception in the first half and did not record a first down. The Tigers were held to minus 2 yards of offense and only 65 yards for the game and trailed 20-0 at intermission.

Abbeville scored at least 27 points in every game this season and posted its seventh shutout in the state championship. Eight out of 15 games it did not allow a touchdown. The Panthers beat its opponents by an average of 35 points per game and won all of its game by at least 12 points.

Panther fullback and North-South selection Keele Goodwin only carried the ball twice for seven yards, both in the second quarter, due to an ankle injury suffered in the Upper State championship game.

Despite the loss, Avant was still proud of his troops for their tremendous run to the Class AA title game. Unranked Allendale-Fairfax (11-4) defeated Class AA top 10 schools Swansea, Baptist Hill, Mullins and defending Class AA state champion Batesburg-Leesville in successive weeks on its way to the title game. The Tigers had won three road games in a row before the defeat.

"This team was a tremendous surprise," Avant said. "Our program has come along way this season and we have a lot to be proud of. "

There were some interested spectators with local ties at the game. Lincoln County head coach Larry Campbell was on the Abbeville sideline. Campbell and Abbeville coach Dennis Botts went to high school together in Calhoun Falls, S.C.

Campbell's younger brother, Michael Campbell, is the principal at Abbeville High School.

Clemson running back Raymond Priester, a former Allendale-Fairfax star, was on the Tigers sidelines. Until this year, Priester had carried the Tigers to their best playoff performances ever with Class AA quarterfinal appearances in 1992 and 1993.

Lewisville ended Johnsonville's hopes for a perfect season with a 25-7 win in the Class A state title contest. Lewisville (12-3) won its third title in 11 years and have been to six state finals in the past 13 years. The Lions are 3-3 in title games during that time span.

Johnsonville (14-1), which finished No. 2 in the final Class A poll behind defending Class A state champion Blackville-Hilda, failed in its attempt to win its second title in four years.