There may not be any combination of down, distance or time remaining that daunts Southern Durham’s Kendall Hinton and his teammates.
For the second straight game, Hinton engineered a final touchdown-winning drive against a powerhouse. This time, Southern Durham made the long trek to Laurinburg and knocked off Scotland County 34-28 Thursday night.
Hinton avoided seven Scotland defenders on a weaving 30-yard scramble with 23 seconds remaining to seal the win. He was 27-of-44 with 272 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and added another 93 yards and a score rushing.
He threw a touchdown pass with 25.6 seconds remaining to beat rival Durham Hillside two weeks ago and did the same with 57 seconds left to win the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3AA title last year.
“Last year we fought a lot (of) adversity, especially in the state championship game,” Hinton said. “This year, we know it’s never too late. We’re always in the game. We practice situations. We have athletes who can make plays. We’re built for adversity.”
Scotland (3-1), the reigning 4A runner-up, traded touchdowns with Southern Durham (3-0), the reigning 3AA champs through much of the fourth quarter before Hinton’s score.
Southern Durham got the ball back with just more than a minute left, the ball at its own 41 and no timeouts.
“I guess you could call us the ‘Cardiac Spartans,’ because we live to be on the edge,” Southern Durham coach Darius Robinson said. “Kendall Hinton worked his magic.”
“He’s a kid who’s going to be in the North Carolina high school Hall of Fame one day because he does things like this that resonate throughout the state. People are going to remember him because he makes plays in big games.”
Southern Durham was poised to tie the game at 28 but missed the point-after attempt after a 31-yard touchdown run from Jordon Brown. Robinson took the blame for the delay of game that led to the missed kick, saying he was thinking about going for two.
Scotland had just gone ahead 28-21 two minutes earlier on a 36-yard score from freshman Zamir White, which answered a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hinton to Brown.
The Fighting Scots scored 21 unanswered to take a 21-14 lead in the third quarter after a 13-yard run from White and a 1-yard plunge from Jaleel McLean. Scotland had also scored on a 4-yard run from McLean just before halftime to make it 14-7.
Southern Durham’s first points came on a 16-play, 94 yard drive – following a fumble recovery by Christian Howze – that ended with a 9-yard pass from Hinton to Brown on the first play of the second quarter.
Southern Durham made it 14-0 on its next drive, a 15-play drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown down pass from Hinton to an open Aaron Hirsch with 4:54 left until halftime.