By Greg Hutton
Special to The Post and Courier
SUMMERVILLE — David Kennedy kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to lead Summerville to a 29-28 victory over Boiling Springs in the second round of the Division I-AAAA playoffs Friday night at McKissick Field.
With the win, the third-seeded Green Wave (11-2) earned a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2007. No. 7 Sumter, a 31-28 winner over second-seeded Hillcrest, will travel to Summerville on Friday for a berth in the state title game.
While his late-game heroics will be most memorable, Kennedy impacted the game well before that. The senior kicking specialist connected on field goals of 17 and 26 yards in the first half, and his punts — including a 58-yarder — forced the Bulldogs deep into their own territory with regularity.
“He’s an outstanding guy, an outstanding player and an outstanding punter,” Green Wave coach John McKissick said of Kennedy. “And he can play at the next level.”
Friday’s contest did not start well for Summerville. Mason Sanders’ 24-yard touchdown catch from Daniel Thompson capped a 65-yard opening drive in which Boiling Springs steadily marched down the field.
The Green Wave countered with a field goal before sophomore quarterback Sawyer Bridges plunged into the end zone from one yard out for his squad’s first lead of the game 45 seconds into the second quarter.
And after the Bulldogs built an 11-point lead late in the first half, Summerville closed the margin to 21-20 before the break on Donnell Bryan’s 71-yard touchdown catch and another field goal.
Both teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter, but Boiling Springs held a 28-26 lead after the Green Wave failed to convert the two-point conversion.
McKissick’s squad received the ball on the Bulldogs’ 40-yard line with 6:44 left in the game but squandered the opportunity with a penalty, sack and a pair of incomplete long-yardage passes.
Summerville would get another chance, though, obtaining the ball at its own 32-yard line with 3:15 on the clock. This time, the Green Wave used a pair of key third-down conversions to advance to Boiling Springs’ 18-yard line and set the stage for Kennedy.
“The drive before that last one, I thought we had it,” said McKissick, who with 613 career victories is football’s all-time winningest coach. “You kind of want to give up, but you don’t ever give up. And we came back.
“(Bridges) did a gutsy job of getting them down there. And then Chris Felder — he was determined to get enough to get us across that 30 where we could kick the field goal. I was real pleased about that.”
Boiling Springs 7 14 7 0—28
Summerville 3 17 6 3—29
BS — Mason Sanders 24 pass from Daniel Thompson (Jordan Rivers kick)
S — David Kennedy 17 field goal
S — Sawyer Bridges 1 run (Kennedy kick)
BS — Jason Hill 7 pass from Thompson (Rivers kick)
BS — Collin Reed 4 pass from Thompson (Rivers kick)
S — Donnell Bryan 71 pass from Bridges (Kennedy kick)
S — Kennedy 26 field goal
BS — Reed 7 pass from Thompson (Rivers kick)
S — Chris Felder 19 pass from Bridges (conversion failed)
S — Kennedy 35 field goal