David Koprowski scored with less than four minutes left in regulation and Alex Peachey got the game-winner five minutes into overtime as Brookland-Cayce defeated James Island, 2-1, Tuesday night before a raucous crowd of about 500 at James Island High School.
The Bearcats (24-3-1) will face the winner of the River Bluff-Eastside game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Columbia for the Class AAA state title, James Island finished the season at 17-4.
The Trojans scored less than four minutes into the match when junior defender Brad Franklin chipped in a shot off a corner kick to give James Island a 1-0 lead they would hold for the next 62 minutes.
"I felt like throughout the game we passed the ball better than them, we possessed the ball better than them, but in the end they were a very dangerous team, especially on set pieces," said James Island coach Todd Robinson. "It's a shame that they tied the game on kind of a scramble in front of the net, but that's why they are a dangerous team."
For the most part the Trojans were able to shut down Koprowski and Tyler Brazell, two of the most potent scorers in the state this season. The duo combined to score 57 goals during the regular season.
Koprowski was kept off the scoresheet until he tapped in a loose ball off a throw in with less than four minutes left in regulation.
"We've been a good defensive team all season," Robinson said. "It's that defense that has gotten us this far. I thought we played very well defensively."
James Island keeper Ethan Marshall made several acrobatic saves, especially in the second half, to keep the Bearcats off the scoreboard.
"He's only a freshman, but he doesn't play like one," Robinson said.
The game-winning goal came in the first overtime period when Peachey launched a curling shot from about 25 yards out on the right side of the 18-yard box. The ball just sailed over the hands of Marshall for the score.
"We've been in a resilient team all season," said Kyle Heise, who is 415-158-24 in 24 years as a head coach. "We got down an early goal, but we kept attacking and found a way to win and get to the state title game."
The Bearcats last played for a state championship in 2001 and 2002, losing to Riverside (1-0) and Greenville (6-0), respectively.