It was a crazy ending to a crazy year for Sumrall.
Holding onto a 19-18 lead with less than three minutes, the Bobcats looked to milk the clock away. However, a bad snap led to Sumrall fumbling and giving Mendenhall late life.
The Tigers capitalized on the opportunity and scored with less than 25 seconds left in the game. Freshman quarterback Trevor Daniels gave Sumrall a chance to win with a 44-yard completion and getting the Bobcats to Mendenhall's 11-yard line. On the game's final play, Daniels was flushed out of the pocket and threw an incomplete pass.
The play sealed Mendenhall's 26-19 as the Bobcats' chance missed the opportunity of their first South State championship appearance since 1988.
While the fumble was a momentum-changing play, Sumrall's four turnovers ultimately decided the game's fate.
"It's four quarters of football (and) we had four turnovers," Sumrall coach Shannon White said. "I think that was a big part of the game. You are not going to win many games with four turnovers."
Late in the first quarter, Daniels fumbled the ball on a run, which led to the Tigers scoring first on a 61-yard scoop and score to take a 6-0 lead.
The Bobcats responded with a two-yard touchdown run by Cole Daniels. Sumrall strip-sacked Mendenhall's quarterback D.K. Jenkins on the following drive. Daniels then scored again as the Bobcats took a 13-6 lead.
Mendenhall got back on the board with a 13-yard touchdown pass by Jenkins. On the next drive, Daniels threw an interception, which led to another touchdown by Jenkins as the Tigers pulled ahead 18-13. Jenkins threw for 146 yards and three touchdowns while Mendenhall's running back Reggie McLaurin rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
"They just ran their offense," White said. "They didn't do anything that we hadn't seen. Not one play
"We knew he was a good running back. We had to account for him in the zone read. Sometimes we did, and sometimes we didn't. Obviously, when we didn't, he hit us pretty good."
Daniels again threw another interception, but the Bobcats came up with their second goal-line stand of the game.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Daniels found redemption as he connected with his brother Tyler Daniels for a 52-yard touchdown to give Sumrall a 19-18 lead.
Daniels, who stepped in for the injured starting quarterback John Ford, finished the game 9 of 21 and threw for 161 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.
"It's a tough situation for a kid on his second high school start," White said. "He's going to be a really great player for us. I was proud of the way he handled the quarterback (position) the last several weeks since we lost John (Ford). He stepped into a tough situation, and he handled it great."
Despite the loss, White leaves a high expectation for his team next season.
"We are real proud," White said. "I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys. You don't judge a team by their record but by where they are at the end of the year, and we had a really good football team at the end of the year. We have a lot of these guys coming back next year. We are losing a great senior class, but we have a lot of juniors on the field, so we expect to be in this position again."