JOHNSTON, S.C. --- Raleigh Yeldell threw for 142 yards and one touchdown -- on the final play of the first half -- and Strom Thurmond claimed its second consecutive Region 3-AA crown with a 27-20 victory over Newberry.
With just 16 seconds before halftime it appeared as if Newberry had taken control of the chase for the region title after an 8-yard scoring pass from Tyler Bishop to standout running back Marcus McMorris for a 14-7 lead.
But the Bulldogs left too much time on the clock.
The Rebels took possession with 121 seconds. Yeldell, a sophomore QB, connected with Desmond Davis on the next two plays for 14 and 18 yards before the junior stepped out of bounds with one tick left on the clock.
Yeldell then found Davis again, this time streaking wide open down the visitor's sideline for a 31-yard score to tie the game after the PAT from kicker Sam Northrop, stunning the Bulldogs.
The Rebels went on to handle the line of scrimmage in the second half en route to scoring the game's next 13 points.
Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer said the late drive before halftime was something his teams had never pulled off.
"What an unbelievable job there by our offense because that was a huge score," Sawyer said.
Yeldell had his best game passing, going 10 for 13 for 142 yards. Nick Williamson led the Rebels on the ground with 19 carries for 108 yards.
Reach Mike Rosier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STROM THURMOND 27, NEWBERRY 20
PLAY OF THE GAME: Trailing 14-7 with a second left on the clock before halftime, Strom Thurmond sophomore quarterback Raleigh Yeldell connected with receiver Desmond Davis on a 31-yard scoring pass that tied the game at 14 after the PAT by kicker Sam Northrop . The play would swing momentum in the game firmly behind the Rebels the rest of the way as Strom Thurmond scored 20 unanswered points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: The Yeldell-to-Davis connection went for five completions and 75 yards and changed the game just as it seemed Newberry had taken control.
WHY STROM THURMOND WON: Poise at quarterback as Yeldell was 10 for 13 for the game for 142 yards passing.
WHY NEWBERRY LOST: An epic defensive collapse to end the first half and 55 yards in penalties that brought back a pair of touchdowns.
NEXT: Newberry at Mid-Carolina, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Strom Thurmond at Gilbert, 7:30 p.m., Friday.