Abbeville picks apart Barn­well, rolls to 4th state ti­tle in a row

The State - - Sports - BY AN­DREW RAMSPACHER [email protected]­tate.com

The bat­tle of un­beat­ens had reached a tip­ping point. Ei­ther Barn­well was go­ing to make a game out of it or Abbeville was go­ing to fur­ther es­tab­lish its dom­i­nance in Class 2A.

Warhorses quar­ter­back Craig Pen­der sat in the pocket and tossed to the mid­dle of the field. A com­ple­tion and Barn­well was closer to cut­ting the Pan­thers’ lead in half. An in­com­ple­tion and Barn­well was still in good shape.

But when the worst of pos­si­bil­i­ties hap­pened, Fri­day’s state cham­pi­onship game all but ended.

A long in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a touch­down at the end of the first half helped Abbeville to a 48-14 win over Barn­well, giv­ing the Pan­thers their fourth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle.

Abbeville (14-0) has lost just three times since the start of the 2015 sea­son. Such tra­di­tion was on full dis­play Fri­day. Be­hind a suf­fo­cat­ing de­fense and run-heavy of­fense, the Pan­thers jumped out to a 21-7 lead be­fore the Warhorses (13-1) posed a se­ri­ous threat.

Pen­der, who threw for 250 yards and three touch­downs in last week’s 57-26 rout of Carvers Bay in the semi­fi­nals, had the Warhorses in the red zone with un­der a minute left in the sec­ond quar­ter un­til he was picked by Abbeville de­fen­sive back David Cobb at the 9-yard line. Cobb went un­touched the rest of the way for a de­flat­ing score.

The Pan­thers rolled from there, go­ing to the air in the sec­ond half for a cou­ple long TDs — in­clud­ing a 35-yard J.D. Moore to JaBryan San­ders con­nec­tion on a fourth down in the third quar­ter.

Abbeville led 48-7 af­ter the third, out-gain­ing Barn­well by 272 yards. The Warhorses were held well be­low their sea­son av­er­age of 44 points per game.

Columbia

Abbeville beat Barn­well 48-14 on Fri­day for its fourth con­sec­u­tive state ti­tle.

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