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Qua'Liek Crawford's 5 TDs power Swamp Foxes into first state final since 1987
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Qua'Liek Crawford's 5 TDs power Swamp Foxes into first state final since 1987

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Marion running back Qua'Liek Crawford embraces Marion athletic trainer Mike Rice after rushing for 203 yards and five touchdowns during the Swamp Foxes' 36-33 win over Andrews in Friday's SCHSL Class 2A lower-state championship.

MARION, S.C. – Qua’Liek Crawford rushed for 203 yards and five touchdowns for Marion, which won 36-33 against Andrews in Friday’s SCHSL Class 2A lower-state final. The Swamp Foxes will now play Abbeville for the state crown at 5 p.m. Friday at Columbia’s Spring Valley High School.

Crawford not only had a spectacular night on offense, he made the game’s biggest defensive play by forcing a turnover just when it appeared the Yellow Jackets could take the lead midway through the fourth quarter. With Marion leading 36-33, Andrews running back Keshaun Williams had run from the Marion 30 to the 5 before Crawford smacked the ball out of his hands. The ball then went off Williams and through the end zone and out of bounds for a touchback.

The Swamp Foxes were not threatened again.

After trailing 27-15 at halftime, Marion’s defense raised its intensity while Crawford simply kept running the ball. After Crawford scored on a 43-yard TD, teammate Jamiek Nichols intercepted an Eli Durham pass and returned it 30 yards to the Yellow Jacket 6. Crawford scored a short time later, and the Swamp Foxes led 28-27.

Crawford then made it 36-27 by scoring from the 14 and adding the two-point run.

But Andrews was not done, as a trick pass play put the Yellow Jackets in scoring position, and Williams scored his third and final TD of the night to bring the Yellow Jackets within 36-33.

The Yellow Jackets, however, took command in the first half.

Andrews recovered an onside kick to start the game and scored on the first of two first-half touchdowns by Keshaun Williams for a 7-0 lead. And before the Swamp Foxes could hardly blink, the Yellow Jackets struck again with an 80-yard scoring pass from Eli Durham to R.J. Giles.

It appeared to be then when Marion began to establish itself with its first TD drive of the night. On the 52-yard drive, Qua’Liek Crawford was the featured ball carrier, and he was the one who scored from the 14. After Ky’heim Bethea’s two-point run, the Swamp Foxes were within 13-8.

After Crawford broke up an Andrews third-down pass on the ensuing possession, he then scored on a 33-yard touchdown run to give the Swamp Foxes a 15-13 advantage.

After Marion’s Draquan Pearson thwarted the Yellow Jackets’ next drive to taking the ball from the Andrews ball carrier’s hands on fourth and goal at the Marion 1, Andrews was able to take advantage after Marion was unable to flip the field.

Starting at the Marion 31, a 14-yard run by Durham soon moved the Yellow Jackets to the Marion 11. After a Swamp Fox personal foul, Williams scored his second touchdown of the half for a 21-15 lead. Capitalizing on special teams again when Andrews recovered the ball on a botched Marion punt attempt at the Swamp Fox 18, Durham completed a 10-yard scoring toss to Waylon Jones to send the Yellow Jackets into the locker room with their double-digit halftime lead.

A 13 14 0 6 -- 33

M 15 0 13 8 -- 36

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FIRST QUARTER

A—Keshaun Williams 5 run (Jesus Ramirez kick), 10:56

A—R.J. Giles 80 pass from Eli Durham (kick failed), 7:20

M—Qua’Liek Crawford 14 run (Ky’heim Bethea run), 4:05

M—Crawford 33 run (Austin Larramore kick), :28

SECOND QUARTER

A – Williams 4 run (Williams run), 8:24

A –Waylon Jones 10 pass from Durham (pass failed), :38

THIRD QUARTER

M – Crawford 43 run (Larrimore kick), 9:19

M – Crawford 2 run (kick blocked), 6:47

FOURTH QUARTER

M – Crawford 14 run (Crawford run), 10:49

A – Williams 3 run (kick failed), 8:17

AN UPDATED STORY WITH QUOTES WILL BE POSTED SATURDAY

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Prep Sports Writer

An eight-time APSE national award winner, Scott authored, "70 Years of Thrills and Chills, Drama and Dents at Darlington Raceway." Scott has received several SCPA awards, including 3 for 1st place since moving to Florence in 2015.

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