Augusta Christian could not overcome five turnovers in a 37-12 loss on Friday to Hammond School in the state semifinals.
The Lions finished the season at 7-5 after the defeat to the four-time defending state champions in SCISA Class 3-AAA.
Augusta Christian failed to stop Hammond running back Joey DeAngelis, who finished the night with 204 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.
"This time of the year, we're excited to be moving on," Hammond coach Erik Kimrey said. "They've got a good team, and we were expecting a great effort. Augusta Christian played with a lot of heart and made some plays, but our guys answered."
Hammond (12-0) plays Porter Gaud for the state championship Saturday at Benedict College.
On Friday, Hammond wasted little time taking a 14-0 lead.
Skyhawks quarterback Dave Nidiffer completed his first four passes, leading his team on a seven-play, 78-yard scoring drive that took just 2:17 off the clock. Bennett punched the ball in from a yard out for the first score.
Hammond defender Joseph McDougall then pounced on a loose ball on Augusta Christian's first possession. It set up the Skyhawks at the Lions' 23-yard line.
Two plays later, DeAngelis scored from 14 yards out with 7:50 left in the first.
Augusta Christian responded with a 13-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Christian Croft finished it off with a 9-yard touchdown run to cut Hammond's lead to 14-6.
The Skyhawks shut out the Lions in the second quarter and added a 31-yard field goal from Fernando Posada and Nidiffer's 36-yard touchdown strike to B.J. Bennett to take a 24-6 lead at the half.
"We made a lot of mistakes early in the game, but we settled down and calmed down and got into a rhythm," Augusta Christian coach Keith Walton said. "But mistakes, you can't make them against Hammond."
Augusta Christian looked to swing the momentum its way when it opened the second half. The Lions cranked out an 84-yard scoring drive, capped with quarterback Tyler Roberson's 17-yard TD pass to Thomas Banks with 6:57 to play in the third.
After holding Hammond on its next possession, the Lions started what looked like another long scoring drive in the making. However, the Skyhawks' defense held on a fourth-and-2 at midfield and took over on downs.
With the Lions still in the contest at the end of the third quarter, trailing 24-12, Hammond took control.
DeAngelis' 10-yard touchdown run made it 30-12 with 11:55 remaining. He closed out the game with a 41-yard touchdown scamper with 6:56 left.
Roberson finished the game 19-for-32 passing for 185 yards but was intercepted four times. Croft finished with 110 yards from scrimmage, including 82 on seven receptions, while fellow senior Matt Rogers had 53 receiving yards.
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