Dymonte Gwathney sometimes suggests plays for his coaches to employ.
They don't always listen. But the Beaufort High School receiver was convincing with less than four minutes to play and the Eagles tied with Summerville. And his coaches picked a heck of a time to trust him.
"He was yelling at me," Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford said. "I said, 'What are you saying?' He said 'Coach, the slant's open.' "
Gwathney hauled in a huge catch to position the Eagles, kicker Kyle Clark's 18-yard field goal was true with 8.2 seconds remaining, and Beaufort High knocked off Region 8-AAAA power Summerville, 31-28, at Eagle Stadium.
The win was Beaufort High's first against Summerville since 2005.
The Eagles now await the outcome of next week's Fort Dorchester-Ashley Ridge game. An Ashley Ridge victory would mean Beaufort High is Region 8-AAAA champion. Beaufort High (9-1, 3-1) suffered its lone loss at Fort Dorchester back in September.
Gwathney's observation helped ensure the Eagles remained in the region title hunt. With the game tied and Beaufort High starting on its own 35 after a Jalin Mack interception, the Eagles opened the drive with five consecutive runs. Clifford admitted he was hoping one of his many rushing threats would break off a huge run and send the home crowd away happy.
The Eagles moved the ball, but time became a factor. Gwathney came out for a play, convinced Clifford the slant was wide open on the right side of the field and proved his point by hauling in a 30-yard pass from quarterback Beau Brown.
The play set Beaufort High up inside Summerville's 10 with 52 seconds left.
Facing third-and-goal from the 3, and on the left hash mark, Brown ran a keeper to the right side. He was stopped a yard shy but succeeded in centering the ball. Clark's field goal set off a raucous celebration on the Eagles' sideline and in the home stands.
"It's an easy (18)-yard field goal," Clark said. "We practice it every day in practice. It's just, gotta go out there and make it."
The Eagles' faithful had been treated to some gut-wrenching sequences before Clark's kick.
Summerville quarterback Dalton Saunders had little trouble finding his favorite targets throughout the game, but he had a touchdown pass called back at the end of the third quarter due to a hold. Later in the drive, a 30-yard field goal attempt was wide left. And, after tying the game and searching for the go-ahead score, Saunders threw a first-down interception to Mack.
Clifford wanted the past two seasons, when Summerville defeated his teams soundly each time, to be a stinging memory for this year's group. It appears he received the effort he was after.
The Eagles defense played much of the game without leading tackler Maliek Maldonado, who suffered from a stinger in his shoulder. Clifford said Maldonado should be back for the Eagle's regular-season finale at Goose Creek on Thursday, but the linebacker was unable to go against the Green Wave. His teammates responded by forcing timely turnovers.
Davonte Green intercepted Saunders at the end of the first half, and Kevin Gess forced a fumble that Beaufort High recovered and converted into a go-ahead touchdown during the second quarter.