WINNSBORO — Gray Collegiate lost to Abbeville in each of the past two seasons in the Class 2A state playoffs.

War Eagles running back KZ Adams made sure it didn’t happen again.

The 5-foot-6 running back carried more than his weight for his team on Friday night, rushing for 312 yards and three touchdowns, and also snagging an interception, as Gray eliminated defending state champion Abbeville 31-15.

Abbeville (12-1) simply couldn’t stop Adams, a Shrine Bowl selection and Georgia State commit, who singlehandedly had more rushing yards than Abbeville’s total offensive output of 302 yards.

“This is my third year playing this team, and they are a great team,” Adams said. “Their community has been coming after me, but it didn’t stop my grind. I just want to thank God and my teammates. They were hating on me the whole week. I’m just in my room fighting the devil off me because it hurts my heart. So, I just made sure I came into this game and played my heart out.”

It’s the earliest playoff exit for the Panthers in nearly a decade of domination, in which the Panthers won five state titles in six years.

Abbeville coach Jamie Nickles hinted that Gray likely will win the state title this season.

“We’ll have to wait and see, but the winner of this game will go a long way,” Nickles said.

Gray quarterback Tre Robinson rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown. Adams iced the game late in the fourth quarter with his interception near his team’s own goal line.

“He’s a special player, but give credit to their offensive line and quarterback,” Nickles said. “He (Robinson) had some big runs too. I thought, all and all, Gray was more physical than us tonight.”

It wasn’t just on offense. The War Eagles (12-1) forced two Abbeville fumbles inside the Red Zone. They were costly for the Panthers, whose first-team offense rarely turned the ball over during the regular season.

“Give them credit,” Nickles said. “One of those, they made a big play down on the goal line.”

Wingback Antonio Harrison and quarterback Zay Rayford scored TDs for the Panthers, and kicker Addison Nickles connected on a 45-yard field goal.

GAME SUMMARY

Abbeville 6 6 3 0 – 15

Gray Collegiate 7 14 7 3 – 31

FIRST QUARTER

GC – KZ Adams 1 run (Bradley Wicker)

A – Antonio Harrison 10 run (kick failed)

SECOND QUARTER

GC – Adams 9 run (Wicker kick)

GC – Tre Robinson 62 yards (Wicker kick)

A – Zay Rayford 4 run (conversion failed)

THIRD QUARTER

A – Addison Nickles 45 FG

GC – Adams 30 run (Wicker kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

GC – Wicker 39 FG

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing – A: Jamal Marshall 9-70, Zay Rayford 14-64, J’Marion Burton 7-44, Antonio Harrison 7-43, Altavious Patterson 1-10. GC: KZ Adams 40-312, Tre Robinson 8-115, Devin Johnson 1-20, Riley Staton 2-(-6).

Passing – A: Zay Rayford 3-6-71-1. GC: Tre Robinson 2-4-40.

Receiving – A: Jay Hill 1-36, Antonio Harrison 2-35. GC: Devin Johnson 2-40.

Records: Abbeville 12-1, Gray Collegiate 12-1

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