NEWBERRY — Newberry High School is a win away from claiming the Region 3-3A championship after a 28-27 victory over eighth-ranked Chapman during the Bulldogs’ 2016 homecoming festivities.
Winning the coin toss and electing to receive the opening kick-off, Newberry marched down the field in only three plays as quarterback Tyriq Goodman connected with Jaleel Gilliam on an in-stride 72-yard touchdown reception on a third and 17 situation.
Ethan Day connected on his first of four PAT kicks and Newberry had the 7-0 lead.
Going the whole evening with a no huddle offense, Chapman ran eight plays in only 1:13, capping the driver with a 26-yard touchdown pass play. A bad snap on the PAT kick resulted in a sack on the two-point conversion.
Fans were still coming into the stadium when the Bulldogs’ Amir Abrams started accumulating the first of his 272 yards on the evening. The Bulldog drive would stall at the Chapman 15 and Day’s 32-yard field goal attempt was no good with 3:47 still left in the opening stanza.
Chapman opened the second quarter with a touchdown to take the 13-7 lead.
Keeping the ball on the ground eight of nine plays, Abrams got his first of three touchdowns on the night with a five-yard run with 6:19 left before the half. Newberry took 14-13 lead.
Both teams were held to a three and out on their next possession but Chapman would go into the locker rooms with a 20-14 lead after the Panthers made a one-yard run with 48 seconds left in the first half.
After a Panther punt to open the third quarter, Newberry was held to three and out at their 14 yard line, but punter Day was hit on the play, giving Newberry an automatic first down after the 15-yard penalty.
Abrams scored his second touchdown on the night with a 29-yard run and Newberry took a 21-20 lead with 7:21 left in the third stanza.
Chapman was held to a three and out but the Bulldogs were penalized 15 yards for roughing the kicker. The Panthers would retake the lead two plays later with a 57-yard run and five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Panthers punted to Newberry with 11:11 left in the game and the Bulldogs covered 84 yards in 5:55 and in 14 plays, only one of which was a pass play.
Of the 13 running plays — 12 consecutive — Abrams got the call every single time. Newberry only saw a third and fourth down marker one time each.
On a second and goal from the one, Abrams was stopped initially, but not tackled. The junior took a second to get his footing back and then dove over the pile of his fellow teammates and Panthers for his third touchdown of the evening.
Day’s PAT put Newberry head 28-27 with 5:16 left in the contest.
Chapman called a time out and then attempted to cover less than a foot on a fourth down from their 35. Newberry’s Adarian Boyd sacked the Panther with 3:37 left on the game clock.
After Newberry failed to convert a fourth down at the Chapman 22, the Panthers had 79 seconds but no time outs left to set up a potential winning score.
With 10 seconds left from the Newberry 22, a Panther pass went into the far corner of the end zone. The pass was ruled incomplete as the buzzer sounded, sending Bulldog nation into a frenzy of celebration.
Chapman coaches said one second should have been left on the clock and after a huddle of the game officials, it was ruled instead that the game was over.
Newberry improves to 6-3 on the season and is in sole possession of first place in the region at 3-1.