HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston put top-ranked Huntington in a new position Friday night, but as has been the case each week of the 2013 season, the Highlanders ended the night upright and without a blemish.
Spurred by a curious call made by SC on a fourth-and-12 with 3:32 left in the third quarter, the Highlanders (9-0) held SC to three first downs in the second half and pulled out a 21-17 win at Bob Sang Stadium.
The Black Eagles (7-3) had led Huntington by 10 points at halftime as sophomore quarterback Kentre Grier threw for 200 first-half yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"We just wanted to get him out of his comfort zone," Huntington coach Billy Seals said about getting improved pressure on Grier in the second half.
"He did a great job of scrambling around, but I'm just proud of my kids for making a lot of plays in the second half."
Huntington took a 7-0 lead on its third play from scrimmage, as junior tight end Cody Romans hauled in a pass from quarterback Clark Wilson with one hand and raced 67 yards for a touchdown with 10:31 left in the first quarter.
After the score, SC took control of the first half, aided in no small part by three Huntington turnovers. Grier started SC's ensuing drive with a 55-yard pass to Kevin Forrest then two plays later, hit Brandon Greene for an 11-yard score that helped tie the game.
Another 55-yard bomb to Forrest was followed by a halfback pass to the all-state senior wide receiver that covered 35 yards, putting SC at the Huntington 8 late in the first quarter. A 25-yard field goal by Jacob Gordon gave SC a 10-7 lead, and the Eagles took a 17-7 lead when Grier dished a shovel pass to Marquel Hampton on fourth-and-goal from the Huntington 1 at the 5:47 mark of the first half.
"Nick [Tubbs] had good coverage on the first long ball they got on us, he just kind of lost connection with the Forrest kid," Seals said. "The second one was a busted coverage. We didn't roll the coverage to that side of the field like we should have. Our kids showed a lot of backbone. They came out here and played their guts out in the second half."
With South Charleston in position to take control of the game against the seldom-passing Highlanders, first-year SC coach Donnie Mays made a decision with 3:32 left in the third quarter that turned the tide of the game.
Faced with a fourth-and-12 call from his own 45, Grier fired a pass to Forrest that fell short, giving Huntington the ball inside SC territory.