For the 7th straight year, Hermitage and L.C. Bird met in the 5A playoffs, meaning once again, one would end the other's season. This year, it was the Skyhawks turn as they turned back the Panthers 27-24.
Shedrick McCall had 243 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns for the Skyhawks who outgained Hermitage 330-125 on the ground. C.J. Donaldson also ran for 70 yards for Bird (11-1) who moves on to the 5A south semifinals against Highland Springs next Friday.
Panther QB James Carney, playing in place of injured senior Woody Winborn, threw for 82 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jordan Hall rushed for 136 yards.
McCall's final touchdown of the night gave the Skyhawks a 27-17 led with just under three minutes to play. Carney hit Nasir Hines for a late Hermitage TD that narrowed that gap to 27-24, but the Panthers could not recover the ensuing onside kick.
Hermitage ends their season at 10-2. Bird has now won 4 of the 7 postseason meetings between these two in the past 7 years. In their previous three playoff wins over Hermitage, Bird has gone on to win a state championship.