EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with comments from the S.C. High School League.
On a rainy Thursday night in Johnsonville, Green Sea Floyds saw its playoff hopes swirl around the drain in a 32-14 loss.
With the limited number of playoff spots in the COVID-19-shortened season, the Trojans couldn't afford a second region loss. The two at-large playoff spots in Class A will go to Upstate schools this year, according to the S.C. High School League. That means there's no postseason for the two-time defending state champions.
"We got our tail kicked," GSF coach Joey Price said. "We have to now come home and get ready to play again. That's all we can do right now."
Neither team could get things going on offense in the first quarter as both teams held each other scoreless.
Less than three minutes into the second quarter, Johnsonville broke the deadlock with a run from inside the 10, putting the Golden Flashes up 6-0.
From there, the floodgates opened.
The Trojans responded quickly with a six-yard touchdown run from Jaquan Dixon to give Green Sea 7-6 lead with 7 minutes to go. Dixon would finish the night with 130 rushing yards on 21 carries as well as two catches for 17 yards.
On the next drive, Johnsonville had a third-and-8 from midfield and the Trojans had a chance to stop. Instead of forcing a fourth down, the defense let a wide receiver slip through the middle and go 50 yards for the score to make it 12-7 with 5:29 left in the second quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, GSF's Aaron Graham took the ball 70 yards to the house to restore the Green Sea Floyds lead at 14-12.
Johnsonville then slowed the pace, consuming the final five minutes of the quarter before scoring with two seconds remaining in the half to take a 20-14 lead.
While the Trojans only trailed by six, the deficit could've been much worse considering the penalties committed by the team on both sides of the ball.
Green Sea Floyds opened the second half with a strong drive but came away with nothing after an interception.
Johnsonville then marched down the field and scored, making it 26-14 with 3:41 left in the third. The Trojans ended the quarter by attempting a fake punt on 4th and 15, but they couldn't convert.
After Johnsonville was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, the Trojans were given life. But that was quickly taken away as Johnsonville picked off the Trojans for a second time and took it all the way to the Green Sea Floyds 1.
The Flashes would score two plays later, finishing the Trojans off by a score of 32-14.
Apart from the loss, the Trojans also suffered a blow when senior Aaron Graham took a big hit in the third quarter and did not return. Price couldn't provide an update on Graham's status after the game.
Emotion flowed from the Green Sea Floyds players after the loss, knowing what the game meant.
The Trojans (2-2, 1-2 region) return to the field next week when they travel to Timmonsville.
"We have to finish," Price said. "We are supposed to finish everything in life. Everything isn't going to go our way when we step out on the field. We have injuries. We're a little thin right now on personnel and had to bring in some freshmen to play today. It is what it is."