Socastee had a big night of celebrations at Braves Stadium.
The school celebrated a homecoming and hall of fame induction ceremony at halftime of its football game against West Florence, and though delayed a bit following a Knights comeback, the Braves had a victory celebration as well.
West Florence overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half, but Socastee prevailed 27-24 in double overtime on senior fullback Angelo Sauter’s second touchdown run of the overtime periods.
“I pretty much told myself we were not losing, that we had to come out of here with a win, and that’s what we did,” Sauter said.
The Braves (7-2) improved to 2-1 in Region VI-AAAA while dropping West Florence (4-5) to 1-2 in the region.
Offensively, the Braves worked their workhorse after Sauter missed last week’s game against Conway for disciplinary reasons.
He entered the game with 676 rushing yards and carried the ball 36 times for 121 yards and the Braves two OT scores.
“I missed last game over something stupid that I did, but it definitely feels great to be on the field and play on my team and get that [win],” Sauter said. “I love the carries, but I can’t do anything without my offensive line. They’re the ones that make me shine, to be honest.”
Senior defensive back Sam McKinney’s had quite a night on defense for the Braves, accounting for four changes of possession with three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
McKinney had two interceptions late in the second quarter and his third with 7 minutes remaining in the game. All came between the Socastee 30 and 45 yard lines.
“I was really just trying to give the receiver a few steps and trying to lure the quarterback to throw in, and he didn’t see me and as he threw it my momentum was already taking me forward to go get the ball,” said McKinney, whose fumble recovery came early in the third quarter.
“Our coaches work on turnover period where the first man tackles and the next man gets the ball out, and that’s what we did,” he said.
In overtime, Socastee had the first possession and Sauter scored on a 1-yard run followed by an Allen Millan extra point. West Florence’s Terrell Barber answered with a 2-yard scoring run followed by a Joel Poinsette extra point to force the second OT.
West Florence started the second OT with a 21-yard Poinsette field goal before Sauter gained six yards on a second-down run to the 1 and punched it in on third down.
Following a scoreless first half in which Socatee missed a 42-yard field goal attempt, McKinney’s recovery of a fumble forced by Dalton Jonas at the West Florence 43 on the first play of the second half set up the game’s first score.
The Braves drove to the 15, where they were faced with a fourth-and-6 and settled for a 31-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Jaylen Pinckney, who was unblocked and appeared offside off the left edge.
Officials consulted for more than a minute before throwing a flag, leaving the Braves with fourth-and-1 at the 10. Sauter converted the first down with a 2-yard gain, and Buck Bacot scored one an inside 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
On the Braves’ next possession, Jordan Hodge hit Maxwell Kjosa for a 56-yard pass over the middle to convert a third-and-15, and Hodge scored on a 14-yard run behind the left tackle on the next play. Sauter ran for the two-point conversion to give the Braves a 14-0 lead.
West Florence rallied, as Bowman Hiller, who had just replaced starting quarterback Marquane Goodman, hit Romel Hatcher for a 39-yard pass to pull the Knights within a touchdown with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter.
A 7-yard Socastee punt gave West Florence the ball at the Socastee 47 with 4:38 to play, and on a fourth-and-5 Goodman hit Kyre Graham for a 15-yard TD on a nice over-the-shoulder pass toward the left sideline. Poinsette’s extra point tied the game with 2:33 to play.
A Socastee punt to the 2 pinned South Florence with less than two minutes remaining and the Braves got the ball back at the Knights’ 27 following a punt, but Pinckney intercepted a Hodge pass from the 27 in the end zone with 20 seconds left to force overtime.
S — Buck Bacot 1 run (kick failed)
S — Jordan Hodge 14 run (Angelo Sauter rush)
WF — Romel Hatcher 39 pass from Bowman Hiller (Joel Poinsette kick)
WF — Kyre Graham 15 pass from Hiller (Poinsette kick)
S — Sauter 1 run (Allen Millan kick)
WF — Terrell Barber 2 run (Poinsette kick)
WF — Poinsette 21 FG
S — Sauter 1 run