Consider the rematch set.
Two teams extremely familiar with each other will face off Friday in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association Class AAA football state championship.
Augusta Christian will take on Hammond for the state title. For the Lions, there's unfinished business to take care of in this rivalry.
"Our rallying cry since last year has been 'finish,' " Augusta Christian football coach Bruce Lane said. "We felt like we were five minutes away from a second state championship last year, but we did not finish."
In those final five minutes of the last year's state title game, Hammond ran away with a 28-17 victory over the Lions. Earlier this year, the Skyhawks beat Augusta Christian again, this time at Pride Valley for the region crown.
In their third match-up in 12 months, the Lions hope for a better outcome.
They'll take plenty of momentum with them after a 17-3 win last Friday over a Wilson Hall team that entered the SCISA Class AAA state semifinal with an undefeated 11-0 record.
"That's the first time all year they've been held out of the end zone," Lane said.
Augusta Christian's defense gave up one third-quarter field goal, and that was against one of the top offenses in SCISA. Meanwhile, the Lions offense scored the only touchdown of the first half on a 33-yard pass from Tyler Bourdo to Evan Wells for a 7-0 halftime lead.
After the Wilson Hall field goal, Augusta Christian's Cameron Taylor picked off a pass deep in the Barons' territory.
Senior Jay Harmon dove into the end zone on the next play for a 14-3 lead.
Steven Bloedel nailed a 27-yard field goal in the game's closing minutes to top off the 14-point victory and send the Lions to the state title game.
It's the third straight season Augusta Christian has reached the SCISA finals. The Lions won it all two years ago and lost to Hammond last season.
Lane said that win or lose, those experiences in high-pressure games are valuable assets. "I think it is an advantage having been there before," he said. "You know how the week is going to go, and you've been in the stadium and on that field. It's a testament to these kids and the seniors who are trying to leave a legacy behind."
Friday's match up will be different than those in the past for both teams. When Hammond beat Augusta Christian earlier this year, the visiting Skyhawks were without top defensive standout Stone Pinckney. The Lions didn't have starting tailback Jay Harmon. Both players are expected to start in the finals.
The SCISA Class AAA football state championship game will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Orangeburg, S.C., at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium on the campus of South Carolina State University.
The Road to Orangeburg
Augusta Christian 8-2
ACS 39, Pinewood Prep 7
Hammond 14, Porter-Gaud 7
ACS 17, Wilson Hall 3
Hammond 34, Heathwood 17
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