Abbeville jumped out to a 21-0 first half lead Friday against Oceanside Collegiate in the 2A state title game not only on the strength of its running game, but also on the arm of quarterback Zay Rayford in its eventual 35-20 win at Columbia’s Benedict College.
The Panthers claim an eighth state crown since 2010 and a 12th overall for the program. Since 2015, Abbeville has won state championships in each season except 2019 and 2021.
Three Panthers, including Rayford, rushed for between 52 and 81 yards while 31 of the Panthers’ mere 51 passing yards in the game came on a second quarter Rayford scoring connection to Javario Tinch, giving Abbeville its three score halftime margin and keeping the Sharks guessing the rest of the way.
Abbeville closes the year on an 11-game winning streak and with a 13-2 record.
Christ Church chased a state title for the first time since 2014 and the Cavaliers erased an early 7-0 deficit against Johnsonville in in rolling to the 1A championship, 43-20, Friday night.
Woods Windham’s 73-yard touchdown toss to Jackson Repp tied the game early in the second quarter to tie the game and Dashun Reeder’s eight-yard rushing score gave Christ Church the lead for good as the Cavaliers close the season with 13 straight wins and a 14-1 record.
Windham finished the game, and his high school career, with 260 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Reeders capped off his junior season with a 152-yard effort rushing and three touchdowns as well as an interception For the season, he rushed for 2,157 yards and 42 touchdowns.