Burke County had taken the lead and the momentum in the third quarter of Friday’s Class AAAA quarterfinal at Sandy Creek.
When the fourth quarter started, Sandy Creek (13-0) responded in a big way, rallying from its second deficit of the night to take a 31-20 win.
Junior receiver Demarre Kitt hauled in a 74-yard touchdown pass from Cole Garvin with 10:24 to play, erasing a 20-17 Burke advantage, and tailback Eric Swinney finished the Bears off with a 38-yard run with 5:53 left.
“They had been stuffing the run and coach finally trusted us with that play,” said Kitt, who took a 15-yard sideline pattern, wheeled and made the lone Burke defender miss and had a straight sprint for the go-ahead touchdown. “They’re either going to make the tackle or miss. Most of the time they miss.”
Kitt finished with seven catches for 153 yards, and also had a 4-yard touchdown catch in the first half.
Burke County’s big-play machine, junior quarterback Donquell Green, rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown that gave the Bears (11-2) an early 7-0 lead.
Sandy Creek got 84 yards on 14 carries from Swinney and another 92 yards on 16 attempts from Delvin Weems. Garvin finished with 201 passing yards, most of them with Kitt on the other end.
“Demarre’s a special player,” said Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker. “Everything was going their way and that took the wind out of their sails.”
Sandy Creek took the lead on Weems’ 22-yard run midway through the second period, and the Patriots led 17-7 after Mitchell McMillin’s 25-yard field goal with 2:31 left in the half.
Sandy Creek opted all night to kick off short and avoid allowing Green a big return. After McMillin’s field goal, Burke’s Tom Ellison returned the squib kick to midfield. The Bears took advantage of the good field position, riding Green’s arm instead of his legs. He hit Untorrey Thomas for a 25-yard gain on third down, then found Dmitri Butts wide open over the middle for the touchdown.
Sandy Creek’s Zerric Willis blocked the extra point try.
Green, who had 135 passing yards, connected with Butts for a 65-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.