Getting over the hurdle: Barnwell looking for elusive state title

BARNWELL, SC -- The South Carolina football state championships begin on Friday. Barnwell and Saluda will face off for the AA state title at 5:00pm, and it's a redemption story for the War Horses.

Just a season ago, Barnwell fell to Abbeville in the state final. It's basically been three years of almosts for the War Horses as they've been on the cusp, but haven't been able to win it all.

This is their second straight trip to the finals, and the team is banking on their past experience to guide them now. Quite frankly, they haven't stopped thinking about getting back and getting over the hurdle.

"You know last year it was really, wow, we're actually here. It hasn't happened in 20 years. And then we got beaten by Abbeville and that stung," said senior quarterback Craig Pender.

"It's been 365 days, and for 365 days these kids have thought about it. I mention it quite regularly so that they do think about it. It was nice to get there. This year, we're going to be a bit more business like about our approach," added head coach Dwayne Garrick.

The Barnwell senior class made appearances in the lower state finals in 2016 and 2017, losing both times. They won the lower state title in 2018 before falling to Abbeville in the state final. Overall, the senior class is an impressive 51 and 5.

Saluda defeated Abbeville in comeback fashion to get to the finals. We'll hear from the Tigers later this week.