CLEMSON – Special is the word of the day for Goose Creek High School.
Goose Creek, playing in its first state football championship game, beat Greenwood 37-21 on Saturday at Memorial Stadium for the South Carolina 4A Division II title.
The Gators trailed 21-14 midway through the third quarter before blocking a pair of punts that turned the tide as they closed the game by scoring 23 unanswered points.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” said Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy, the former Clemson assistant and Baylor head coach who has built the Gators program from the ground up over a 10-year tenure.
“We accomplished this together. I have a great group of assistant coaches who work very hard, and our players have worked very hard.
“And we have great, great fans. They (Greenwood) are an hour away, we’re four hours away, and we have at least as many people here as they do. I think that says a lot about what kind of fans we have.”
Caleb Kinlaw rushed for 130 yards on just 14 carries, while Shrine Bowl selection Virgil Smalls churned out 117 more and scored three touchdowns, including a pair of 1-yard runs during Goose Creek’s second-half surge.
Tramel Terry added 80 yards rushing and a pair of TDs, including a 31-yard run that capped the scoring with 5:13 remaining and started the Goose Creek celebration.
Gators players doused Reedy with a bucket of ice water as the final seconds ticked off the clock while players ran over to the stands to hug friends and family members.
It was a scene few people probably could have imagined when Reedy in 2002 took over a program that had gone 0-11 the year before.
Greenwood was seeking its ninth state championship.