After watching their counterparts on the Academic Magnet girls' team claim the Class AA Lower State title Monday night, there was no way the Raptor boys were going to be left behind this championship weekend.
"It'd be really nice to go up there and have both of us win state," senior Alex Lanning said after Academic Magnet secured the Lower State title with a 2-0 win over Waccamaw Tuesday night at Ravenel Stadium. "In the end, it's more working together than it is competition. But I won't say there's no competition between us. We both want to out-do the other."
The Raptor girls will play for their second straight state Class AA-A title and third in four years on Friday night against Christ Church. The Academic Magnet boys, ranked No. 1 in the state in AA, could make it a sweep with a win over Upper State champion Indian Land at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the state championship site, River Bluff High School in Lexington.
Indian Land (20-5), ranked No. 2 in AA, claimed the Upper State title with a 4-0 win over Saluda. The Raptor boys won their state title in 2012 with a 5-0 victory over Indian Land, which is in Fort Mill.
"Our goal every year is the state championship," said Academic Magnet coach Jason Hamil, whose team scored its first playoff victory over rival Bishop England on Saturday. "All the other wins are nice and everything, but our goal every year is the state championship.
"Now, we only have to be 1-0 to win the state championship. We are 0-0 now, and so is whoever we are going to play."
Junior Colton Frankel got the Raptors up early against third-ranked Waccamaw (19-4), putting in a corner kick from sophomore Dylan Robinson.
"We've really worked on the timing of those set plays," Hamil said. "It was a really good ball from Dylan and Colton was right where he was supposed to be."
Midway through the first half, Ray Nugent let a ball through to Nick Nybo on the back post, and he calmly put the ball in for a 2-0 lead.
"We've talked about being composed in front of goal all year, and he was composed on that one," Hamil said.
Composure will be key on Saturday on the big stage of the state finals.
"The older guys who were there two years ago will be key," Hamil said. "It's a different venue, but a lot of the stuff will be the same. This is where some of our seniors and juniors step up and help the younger guys understand what's in store for them Saturday."