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BISHOPVILLE – Lee Central rallied for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to upend Andrew Jackson, 32-21 and secure the fourth seed in Region IV-AA in the upcoming Class AA Upper State playoffs.
The loss ended the Volunteers’ season at 3-7, 1-4.
The Lee Central win gave the Stallions, AJ and Buford identical region records at 1-4.
Conference IV-AA runner-up Indian Land defeated Buford, 41-13 at BHS on Friday night.
Lee Central had to defeat AJ by more than six points to secure the playoff spot, if Buford lost.
The Volunteers led 21-20 at the end of the third quarter, but the Stallions drove 91 yards in eight plays to take the lead, 26-21.
LCHS wide receiver Tyrell Hicks caught his third touchdown of the night to cap the drive. The Volunteers still held the playoff spot at this point with 8:53 left.
After each team exchanged punts, AJ began a drive at its own 30 with 7:06 left.
Three plays later, LCHS defensive end Trevon Hall scooped up an errant option pitch and galloped 29 yards for the decisive score.
The Vols opened the game with a bang, as senior Tremaine Jackson returned the opening kickoff 63 yards to set up an four-play, 32-yard scoring drive. AJ senior quarterback Darrian Henderson scored from the six to give the Vols the early lead.
AJ kicker Tyler Denkins added the first of three extra points to make the score 7-0.
Lee Central matched the AJ score, driving 59 yards in 10 plays, with Hicks hauling in a Shaquil Lovely pass for the score.
Lovely converted the two-point conversion to give LCHS an 8-7 lead.
Late in the first period, the Stallions drove 85 yards in seven plays to take the lead. Hicks caught a perfectly thrown 28-yard rainbow from Lovely to complete the drive.
The two-point conversion failed and the Stallions led 14-7.
At the start of the second quarter, AJ used a little razzle-dazzle to score. Henderson lined up as a wide receiver and stepped back to catch the lateral pass. Henderson then heaved a 39-yard pass to a wide-open Quincy Grier for the tying score.
Midway in the quarter, AJ retook the lead with a nine-play, 54-yard scoring march. Henderson threw a five-yard strike to Grier for the touchdown to give AJ a 21-14 lead with four minutes left in the half.
The Vols gave up an easy score just before the half. Facing a fourth and 10 from its own 16-yard line, Denkins had the snap sail high and he was tackled at the AJ four with a minute left in the half.
Two plays later, Lovely ran in from the two-yard line. After the two-point conversion failed, AJ led 21-20 at the half.
“We made some mistakes tonight, coupled with Lee Central making plays that determined the outcome,” said AJ head coach David Moore. “We were trying to catch them off guard on the last drive of the half, plus Darrian had reinjured his ankle in the first half.
“We told our team, after the Central game that each player has to make a commitment to get into the weight room,” said Moore. “Lee Central made plays that were direct results of having athletes in position to make those plays.”
Tremaine Jackson led the AJ offense with 81 yards on five catches,
Quincy Grier caught six passes for 56 yards, including a touchdown.
Henderson was 12-28 in passing for 147 yards and two picks.
Marquis Wilson of LCHS rushed for 103 yards on 23 carries. Hicks had six catches for 92 yards and three TDs. Lovely was 15-28 for 189 yards and three scores on the night.