Southern Nash High School came into their game tonight not reaching their state semifinals since 2009.

A decade of early tournament exits ended tonight as they advanced to the semifinals of the Class 3-A playoffs with a 59-21 win over Terry Sanford High School.

The top seeded Firebirds (14-0) came into the night looking to continue their undefeated season with star running back Quinton Cooley. Cooley came into the night first in the state in rushing yards and touchdowns. His credibility had also reached the national level as he gained stats to be a Top 20 rusher in the country.

On the field against the Bulldogs (10-4) he did not disappoint. Quarterback Matt Foster handed him the ball on 16 occasions as he plowed for 161 yards and put up five touchdowns on the ground. Cooley also was responsible for three two-point conversions and a 67-yard punt return touchdown.

It was a career defining night for a career defining season. Cooley luckily was not able to celebrate the moment on his own as his brother traveled over 2,400 miles from California to see his family succeed at the highest level.

However, Cooley and the Firebirds’ night looked bleak at the start of the game. Terry Sanford was able to put the first 14 points on the scoreboard five minutes into the game. That score looked excellent for their star running back Dorian Clark.

Clark came into the game almost a mirror image of Cooley as he was fourth in the state in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns. Clark was able to run the ball 25 times on the field but was only able to accumulate 133 yards and a single touchdown late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. The Firebird defense along with Cooley, Foster and Jackson Vick on offense turned out to be too much for Clark and the Bulldogs out of Fayetteville.

Southern Nash looks to their pivotal semifinal match in a week. No. 3 Eastern Alamance looks to come into Firebird Stadium and beat Southern Nash like they did in the second round of the 3-A state playoffs in 2018. Cooley and his teammates look toward revenge and adding to his legacy with the school.