Donnie Kiefer came to Green Sea Floyds with the promise of state championships. On Friday, he and his players delivered the first on that promise, defeating Lamar 26-20 in a wild finish to bring home the S.C. Class A state title.
The Trojans (11-3) scored all 26 of their points in the first half, when they went back-and-forth with Lamar’s potent attack. In the second half, both defenses contained the scoring in the third quarter and much of the fourth before Green Sea Floyds clung to a six-point lead late in the game.
“It was on us late in the game and we had to step up and stop them one more time to bring home the title,” said Green Sea Floyds senior linebacker Josh Slobodiak. “We’ve worked for this for (more than) three months; I’ve been working for this for four years. This is an unbelievable accomplishment for this school and for all of these fans that came out to support us all year.”
For the Green Sea Floyds football program, which has been around since 1976, the victory over Lamar earns the Trojans their first state championship. Kiefer wants the community to get used to the success and competing for state championships.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sun News
“(This was) just a phenomenal night,” he said as his team paraded on the field with the championship trophy. “It’s the first time ever; it’s not something that’s happened before – not even close. When I first came here, I told them we were coming here to win state championships; we’re not coming here for mediocrity. 6-6 has to be a bad year from here on out and the kids have bought in.”
Green Sea Floyds and Lamar put on an early scoring barrage, with six combined touchdowns in the game’s first 10 possessions. Lamar scored twice, once on a short 12-yard drive and again on an 81-yard drive. Green Sea Floyds scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions.
Lamar was gifted a short field by a Green Sea Floyds fumble, leading to a 1-yard scoring run by Rashad Johnson. The Trojans would respond with a Jaquan Dixon 42-yard run on a two-play drive. Lamar’s final score of the quarter came on Jac’Quez Lucas’ 66-yard run followed by a two point conversion that gave the Silver Foxes a 14-6 lead.
From there the Trojans took over for the rest of the half.
Green Sea Floyds scored three touchdowns to end the first half on an 11-yard pass from Bubba Elliott to Dixon, a 3-yard run by Dixon and a 15-yard run by Elliott to give the Trojans a 26-14 lead at the break.
The Trojans dominated statistically in the first half with 13 first downs and 326 yards of offense compared to 166 yards for Lamar.
But Green Sea Floyds would not threaten the end zone in the second half.
“We were hot offensively early, then we got a bit conservative trying to run some clock,” Kiefer said. “We get a state championship, so we’ll take it.”
The Trojans maintained their 12-point lead until Jalen Langley hit Derrick Higgins for a 37-yard TD pass with 3:34 remaining to force the Trojans to make big plays on defense in the final couple minutes.
Kiefer was tasked with making a decision that had the potential to decide the game, going for it on fourth-and-inches on his own 15-yard line.
The Trojans wouldn’t convert and Lamar was gifted a chance to snatch a state championship away from the entire Green Sea community.
“We talked about it, the kids were adamant. I wanted to punt the ball and play defense, but the kids were begging us,” Kiefer said. “They were saying ‘Coach, it’s our senior year, we can get that yard.’ I didn’t feel good about it, we went for it and didn’t get it, but then we played defense. In the end it all washed out.”
The state title came on the back of an exceptional game from Dixon, who rushed for 247 yards and two scores on 20 carries. He also caught two passes for 20 yards, with a receiving score as well.
“He’s always phenomenal, but it’s a team game,” Kiefer said of his stud running back. “If not for the linemen, tight ends and other backs, those things don’t happen. I’m happy for him, but he will be the first one to tell you the credit goes to those guys up front.”
All season, Kiefer’s team – and all of Horry County – has dealt with adversity. The Green Sea community was hit hard by Hurricane Florence and the ensuing flooding, and the Trojans missed a chunk of the season and school year. But nothing was going to stop them from securing the title.
“It’s just phenomenal. God blessed us all year long,” Kiefer said. “…It was tough, we were out for an entire month, we played a game Sept. 7 and didn’t play again until Oct. 6 and then we practiced four days before we played that game. … Everything they’ve done in the weight room, our strength program is second to none and these kids bust it every day. We give God the glory and we give credit to the players.”
Kiefer’s team featured 11 seniors, but returns key contributors in Anwain Graham, Elliott and Dixon for another run at a championship, this time with a target on their backs.
Lamar – 14 0 0 6 – 6
GSF – 20 6 0 0 – 26
Lamar – Rashad Johnson 1-yard run (Kick failed) 8:38
GSF – Jaquan Dixon 42-yard run (Kick failed) 8:04
Lamar – Jac’Quez Lucas 66-yard run (Lucas run for 2-point conversion) 5:25
GSF – Bubba Elliott 11-yard pass to Jaquan Dixon (2-point failed) 3:23
GSF – Dixon 3-yard run (Dixon run for 2-point conversion) 00:00
GSF – Elliott 15-yard run (2-point failed) 7:32
Lamar – Jalen Langley 37-yard pass to Derrick Higgins (2-point conversion failed) 3:34