GREENWOOD, SC- Things looked bleak for Greenwood High School quarterback Evin Sims. Late in the third quarter of the Eagles’ Division II, 4A second round playoff matchup against North Augusta, Sims was knocked out of the game with a mild concussion, finding his senior season in jeopardy as his team faced a 25-17 deficit.
Then Thomas Turner stepped in.
Turner, the little used junior quarterback, orchestrated a last minute drive and completed a 55 yard pass to Aaron Broadwater, setting up kicker Matt McManis’ game winning 36 yard field goal, giving the Eagles a 34-32 win. Turner followed with a 198 yard, one touchdown performance, completing seven of fifteen passes, in the Eagles’ 35-30 State Semi-Final win over South Pointe the following week.
“I really wasn’t thinking about anything,” Turner said. “I just went out there and played my game, tried to help my team win.”
After missing a week of action, Sims, who has accounted for 23 rushing touchdowns in the Eagles’ run heavy double wing offense, participated in practice in full pads Wednesday. Sims explained that Turner’s performance played a significant role in keeping his senior season alive.
“I knew he (Turner) had it in him the whole time,” Sims said. “We see him throw the ball like that every single day in practice.”
With Sims returning to practice and the starting quarterback for Greenwood’s Division II, 4A State Championship game matchup against Northwestern still at question, Turner explained that he is keeping a positive outlook as the Eagles are hoping to capture the program’s 13th State Championship.
“I am just trying to get better every day in practice,” Turner said. “If my number is called, I’ll be ready. If E (Sims) is called on, I’m sure he will be ready, too.”
Although Greenwood Head Coach Gene Cathcart was unavailable for comment due to illness, Sims explained that both he and Turner are ready to do whatever is best for their team, as the Eagles make their third consecutive Division II, 4A State Championship game appearance. Kickoff is set for noon at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
“We both have proven that we can produce in big games,” Sims said. “He (Turner) came up big for us against North Augusta and South Pointe, and played well when he started against Westside in the regular season. I have gained a lot of experience the past couple of years. We both feel like whoever gets the chance to play will do whatever they can to help our team win.”