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WJMS wins title in dramatic fashion
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            Trailing 18-16 with less than 20 seconds left in the game, William James Middle School had one last chance at the Coastal Empire Region Championship.

            After three-straight incomplete passes, Knights quarterback Colin Chance stood in the pocket on 4th-and-10, let it rip and hit wide receiver Jamieco Howard for a game-winning, 34-yard touchdown pass with just 14.2 seconds on the clock to knock off Burke County Middle School and take home the title Wednesday at Statesboro High’s Womak Field.

            It was Chance’s second touchdown pass of the afternoon. He threw for a total of 62 yards on the afternoon – all in the second half.

            “(Chance is) a seventh grader,” said WJMS coach Scott Chapman. “He’s just got tons of heart and guts for days. He just ain’t ever gonna quit. I’m excited to have him again next year.”

            The Knights led 16-12 heading into the final period, but were forced to punt after a pair of procedure penalties halted a drive with just 2:43 to go.

            The William James defense held the Bear Cubs to 4th-and-14 on the ensuing drive, but BCMS quarterback Donquell Green hit running back Brice Roundtree for a 26-yard pass to keep the drive alive. After back-to-back incomplete passes, Green dropped back on third down, broke two tackles and headed toward the opposite sideline. He took it to the house from 38 yards out to put the Cubs up 18-16 with 48 seconds left.

            When the Knights got the ball back, they had 41.3 seconds to score.

            Runs of 18 and 16 yards by WJMS running back Greg Wallace and 15-yard pass to Jaquell Harper set up the game-winning pass.

            Burke County got the ball back with 14 seconds remaining but, after a 25-yard run by Roundtree, could not spike the ball in time for another play.

            Wallace was the leading rusher for WJMS. He carried the ball 25 times for 211 yards and a touchdown.

            “He’s a beast,” said Chapman. “He just never quits. On down the line he came over (and said), ‘Coach, give me the ball – just keep going – give me the ball.’ He’s a stud. He runs hard and never gives up.”

            It was not the first time the Knights found themselves playing from behind. A comeback win against Langston Chapel Middle School got them to the championship game.

            “These guys – they go after the ball,” Chapman said. “They never, ever, ever give up. We were down 22-0 last week against Langston and they came back, pulled it out. Four points is easy for this team compared to 22. They just never ever quit.”

            Chapman feels that the dedication to the team is what got it the championship.

            “They deserve it,” said the WJMS coach. “They work harder than any other team in the region, they give up more of their time than any other team in the region so they deserve it more than any other team in the region.”

            The Knights struck first early in the game.

            On just their second offensive play, Wallace scored from 58 yards out. The Cubs answered on a four-yard plunge by fullback Carleton Holmes, and a 65-yard run by Roundtree gave BCMS a 12-8 halftime lead.

            Roundtree carried the ball 12 times for 164 yards for Burke County.

            Chance hit Harper for a 13-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter for a 16-12 lead before Burke went ahead late in the fourth.

            The Cubs were 0-for-3 on two-point conversions, while William James was perfect. It was the difference in the game.

            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.