The John Paul II Golden Warriors had a decision to make — kick the extra point for the win, or take a knee and try to get in. They went out with the W.
JPII won’t go to the SCISA 2A playoffs, losing out on a spot in a three-team tiebreaker for two spots, but the Golden Warriors sent their seniors out with a win, escaping with a thrilling 33-32 victory over visiting Beaufort Academy on Friday.
Jeremiah Young rushed 17 times for 171 yards and two TDs and passed for 95 yards with two more scores, including the tying TD to Jackson Ogden with 14 seconds left.
Needing to win by eight points or more to get into the playoffs, the Golden Warriors contemplated taking a knee on the PAT to take their chances in overtime, but Evan Slusne booted the go-ahead kick, and JPII stopped a successful Hail Mary from Braydon Dineen to Jaxen Porter short of the goal line as time expired to seal the season-ending win.
Ogden rushed nine times for 84 yards and a TD and hauled in three passes for 66 yards and a score, and Malone Kinard-Huisinger caught a TD pass to lift JPII in a wild back-and-forth game.
JPII had a tough time stopping BA’s powerful ground game, as Ja’Sean Lawson rolled up 213 yards on 17 carries and Elijah Fess added 106 yards on 11 attempts. Dineen rushed for 44 yards and two TDs and threw a 75-yard TD pass to Fess for the Eagles, who will travel to Pee Dee Academy to open the SCISA 2A playoffs next week.
The teams traded the lead all night long, as BA took a 16-6 lead after the first of Dineen’s two TD runs, but Young and Ogden led the Golden Warriors back to take a 20-16 advantage.
Lawson broke a 20-yard TD to regain the lead for BA, but Young hit Malone Kinard-Huisinger over the middle to but JPII ahead 26-24. Dineen answered with a quarterback draw for a TD to put the Eagles back on top with less than a minute left.
Then Young struck again. He connected with Mark Knight, who lateraled to Ogden streaking up the left sideline to take the ball to midfield, then Young and Ogden hooked up for the tying touchdown, setting up Slusne’s game-winning kick.
Young wrapped up his senior campaign by going over 1,000 yards rushing and fell just 80 yards short of passing for 1,000 yards on the season, as the Golden Warriors went 3-6 a year after going winless and finished in a three-way tie for the No. 3 spot in the region despite losing out on the point-differential tiebreaker with BA and Hilton Head Prep.
BA (5-5) has dropped three straight but will get a shot at redemption Friday at Pee Dee Academy. With a win, the Eagles likely would get a rematch with undefeated Hilton Head Christian Academy in the semifinals.
Beaufort Academy quarterback Braydon Dineen, left, passes the ball to Elijah Fess during the second quarter on the road against John Paul II on Friday night in Hardeville. The BA Eagles lost to the Golden Warriors 32-33. Photo by Bob Sofaly.