Rebels earn decisive win over Wave

Byrnes beat Summerville at its own game Saturday to claim the Division I-AAAA football championship at Williams-Brice Stadium.

This season, the Green Wave (13-2) used an in your face, stop it if you can, pass attack combined with solid pass defense and special teams play to roll over opponents. On Saturday, the Rebels (15-0) used that strategy to earn a 48-9 win over Summerville in the state title game.

Rebels' quarterback Chas Dodd completed 22-of-38 pass attempts for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Byrnes' defense held Wave star receiver A.J. Green to a mere three catches for 29 yards. Summerville QB Reid McCollum was limited to 11 completions for 108 yards. Those are low numbers compared to the success the duo had coming into the championship.

"I don't want to take anything away from Byrnes," Summerville Coach John McKissick said. "They played good and I don't think we played up to par. We worked hard on it all week and we thought we had a shot, but we didn't. They just out played us bad all the way around, on offense and defense."

Both Green and McCollum missed large chunks of the final quarter due to injuries. McCollum suffered a concussion and was treated by the team physician as well as at a hospital after the game. Green, who played both sides of the ball for most of the first three quarters, missed the entire fourth quarter due to leg cramps.

After receiving the opening kickoff, Byrnes drove 78 yards in 11 plays to open the scoring.  Running back Marcus Lattimore capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The key play of the drive came on fourth-and-12 at the Wave 37-yard line when Dodd completed a pass to Jason Logan for a 34-yard gain.

The Rebels would go for it on fourth down four other times in the game and make it all but once. The team was also successful on nine of its 18 third-down conversion attempts. The Wave only completed 2-of-4 fourth-down attempts and 2-of-14 third-down attempts.

Summerville answered the Rebels' first score on its first possession, driving 65 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. The Wave moved the ball with two big runs from Jereme Green and Tyler Veronee and a couple of catches by A.J. Green. McCollum capped the drive with a keeper from 1 yard out. David Behr sent the extra-point kick through the uprights to tie the game at 7. The kicker didn't have the chance to as much as line up for another field-goal attempt the rest of the game. However, he did make eight punts for 295 yards, landing two of them inside the 20.

Byrnes added a 45-yard field goal by Jordan Miller for a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the first minute of the second quarter, Summerville caught one of its few breaks of the game. The Rebels were backed up inside the 20 on fourth down so they decided to punt. The punter mishandled the snap and the ball rolled into the end zone so he swatted it out of bounds for a Summerville safety.

Unfortunately for Wave fans, that was Summerville's final score of the game. The Rebels outscored the Wave 38-0 the rest of the contest.

"That little old slip screen and a couple of other things, we had worked on and thought we had covered. We didn't," McKissick said.

Much of the credit for the win goes to the Byrnes' defense, which only gave up two drives of more than 20 yards the rest of the way. Skylar Franklin led the team in tackles with nine including a sack. The Rebels had six pass breakups, an interception and three QB hurries in the game. Summerville was held to 182 total yards of offense while Byrnes racked up 472.

Lattimore, who is just a sophomore, carried 25 times for 109 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. In addition to leading all rushers, he was the second leading receiver with seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. Fellow Rebel receiver Jason Logan had four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Ricco Sanders had 89 receiving yards for the Rebels.

The second half was not without highlights for Summerville and highlights from a state title game tend to be things players remember for some time. On its second drive of the third quarter, Summerville drove 66 yards into the red zone before turning the ball over on downs.

A key play in the drive came on a deflected pass, which center Richard Spain caught. After the reception, the lineman rumbled up field for a 14-yard gain.

Defensive back Kyrie McClellan had two interceptions in the half, including one in the end zone to stop a potential Rebel score. He also lined up as a kick returner and finished with 61 all-purpose yards. Both Branden Millhouse and Jereme Green finished with 43 all-purpose yards and A.J. Green had 36. Kennan Manning, Andrae Deweese and Ben Ebert all had eight tackles for Summerville.

Contact Roger Lee at 873-9424, ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com.