Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- The Deerfield-Windsor season will end just as it began.

The Knights and Tony Zenon blew past Pinecrest early and held on for a 39-25 victory on Friday while George Walton topped Tattnall Square in the other GISA Class AAA semifinal to set up a rematch of the first game of the season in the state championship game next Friday at Webb Memorial Field.

DWS (12-2) will attempt to win back-to-back state titles for the first time in school history.

"It's unbelievable," said Zenon, whose team lost to GW on Aug. 21. "I can't wait. The first game of the season they just killed us. It was just 16-6, but we are a totally different team. I am ready to put it on them."

Without doubt, Zenon was ready to put it on Pinecrest Friday.

On the first play of the game, the senior bolted untouched through the Pinecrest defense for a 70-yard touchdown.

Not a bad start, but it only got better.

On Zenon's second carry of the game, he broke a sweep around the outside. Again he was untouched for a touchdown. Two carries, 120 yards, 2 TDs, 13-0 DWS.

"That is kind of crazy," said Zenon, who eventually ran 13 times for 198 yards and three TDs. "But with my offensive line and my fullback blocking for me, I am not too surprised."

On the ensuing series, Pinecrest finally stopped Zenon for a 3-yard gain. Only, QB Banks Kinslow hit Reggie Brown running open down the middle of the field on the next play for a 70-yard touchdown pass.

Make that five offensive plays for the Knights, 197 yards, three touchdowns and a 20-3 advantage before the first quarter even came to a close.

The early advantage proved crucial against a Pinecrest team that entered 11-1 by running repeatedly to create long drives and soak up the clock. The deficit forced quarterback Eric Hegeman to throw 25 times. He finished 9-of-25 for 109 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown.

"We wanted to get a lead if we could," DWS coach Allen Lowe said. "Getting the lead was huge and it really dictated the pace of the game."

Quinton Adkins added a 66-yard touchdown run and Justin Webb scored a late TD for the Knights.

For Adkins, who finished with 11 carries for 97 yards, the game changed with Zenon's first run.

"We were looking at film and these boys are pretty big, they are going to be a powerhouse and be able to drive us," he said of Pinecrest. "He took that play and we thought we could take care of business (from there) and win this game."

The biggest question after the game was if Zenon would be able to supply the same performance next week.

Zenon took a pitch and rolled his ankle trying to avoid a tackle in the third quarter. The school's career leading rusher, who went over 2,000 yards for the season on Friday, hobbled off the field and took a spot on the bench.

He didn't return to the game, but walked around on his own power and said he could have played if it was needed.

"It's a little sore," Zenon began, "but I will be good next week."

A good night turned great as Lowe spoke to his team after the game. His speech was interrupted by athletic director Gordy Gruhl, who had been updating fans of the George Walton-Tattnall Square scores throughout the game over the public address system.

"May I have your attention please," he began, drawing a silence from the DWS fans gathered at midfield.

Gruhl then held for a five-second dramatic pause. "The Knights are playing at home for the Class AAA state championship!"

The announcement set off a second wave of celebration among the players and provides a home state title rematch game for the second straight season. Deerfield beat region foe Westfield for the state title last year, 17-12.

"George Walton is going to be excited, it doesn't matter this time of the year (who you play)," Lowe said. "We feel like we are playing good football. We got one more game to play and it is the last one. Enough said."