COLUMBIA -- Irmo entered the Class AAAA boys championship soccer game with the No. 1 state and national rankings, but Wando left with the championship trophy.
Wando knocked off Irmo, 3-1, in the Class AAAA boys state soccer championship in front of about 5,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Irmo entered the match with a 24-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the state and country. The Yellow Jackets were on top of the ESPN/Rise national poll of teams that play soccer in the spring. But after 80 intense minutes, it was the Warriors who were on top of the world, winning their first state title since 2002.
"To win this was twice as nice," Wando coach Shilo Tisdale said. "They were No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in the nation. We weren't even in the top 50 (in the nation). No one can take this away from us."
Wando (26-4) grabbed a 2-0 lead as Hamilton Carlin scored twice in a 52-second span of the showdown.
"It's great. It's probably the best thing I ever experienced," Carlin said. "I never had as much adrenaline run through me as I did in this game."
Brandon Burkholder found an unmarked Carlin open six yards from the goal. Carlin fired a shot to the net to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead at the 5:58 mark.
The Warriors got a big break less than a minute later on a keeper's error when the goalie took too long to clear the ball. Carlin beat the keeper to the ball and scored from point-blank range at the 6:50 mark.
"Unfortunately we have seen this before," Irmo coach Phil Savitz said. "Last year, we had a six-minute stretch where we gave up three goals. It wasn't meant to be. We can say we had a great season other than the final game."
Wando had eight shots to Irmo's five in the first half. Warriors keeper Teddy Weil had three saves in the first half and five for the game. Wando finished with 15 shots to Irmo's 14
Irmo, which recorded 14 shutouts and allowed only 11 goals the entire season, didn't quit. Matt Sieverding scored from 18 yards out to cut the lead to 2-1 in the 56th minute.
But sophomore Christian Jablonksi scored from 14 yards in the 75th minute to clinch it for the Warriors.
"We knew a team of this caliber wasn't going to give up without a fight," Tisdale said. "The minutes seemed like hours until Christian scored."
Said Savitz: "You have to give credit to Wando. They did what it took to beat us. We felt if we could go out and get that first goal like we usually do, it would have been different. It wasn't meant to be."
It marked the fifth time the storied programs faced off in the Class AAAA state championship.
Irmo defeated Wando in 1990 and Wando got revenge the next year. Wando made it two wins in a row in '92 and topped the Yellow Jackets in 2002. That was the last time Wando played for the state title until Saturday when the Warriors won their fifth state title overall.