Home / Last week of regular season has wins for some, heartbreakers for others
Last week of regular season has wins for some, heartbreakers for others
Making history seems like old hat for the two-time state champion Sandy Creek Patriots, but they made some more history Friday night with their fourth straight region title, something that had never been done in the county before. The Patriots hosted Stockbridge and won 22-14.
Sandy Creek got things started with a 15 yard touchdown run from Eric Sweeney. Sweeney added another one early in the game, this time a four yard run, but two missed extra points made it 12-0. A 23 yard field goal at the end of the first half made the score 15-0.
Stockbridge ran back the opening kick of the second half 96 yards to cut the lead to 15-7. Later, Delvin Weems added a five yard touchdown run and the Patriots had a 22-7 lead, but Stockbridge scored again in the fourth quarter and threatened to tie or take the lead late in the game when Jamel Gilliam made his second interception of the game to seal the win. The defense produced four interceptions on the night. Shaquille Wiggins added one and Josh Grimes added another.
“There are definitely some things to sharpen up as we head into the playoffs, but overall our defense and offense played pretty well,” said head coach Chip Walker after the game. With two missed extra points, the team will focus on the kicking game again in practice.
The win not only gives Sandy Creek a region title, but the possibility of several home games in the state playoffs, provided they keep winning. And speaking of winning, the Patriots winning streak has to 39 games.
In the wake of the controversial column in the Griffin Daily News about the matchup of Whitewater vs. Griffin, both teams came into Friday’s game feeling they had something to prove. Whitewater wanted to show they were as hard working as anyone out there, and Griffin wanted to prove they were more than just happy to be there, they wanted a championship. Both sides packed Whitewater’s stadium, and were treated to an instant classic that went down to the very last play.
Early on, and throughout the first half, it appeared the Griffin Bears just wanted the game more. They made big plays, blocked three punts, and forced three turnovers and jumped to a 16-0 lead. The Wildcat offense was out of sync, failing to move the ball consistently; the only managed a field goal and found themselves down at halftime 16-3. The second half started off with the Wildcats driving all the way into the Griffin 5-yard line and not scoring a point. At that moment all hope seemed to have been lost, but then the Cats came alive. The defense forced a fumble and Whitewater was able to capitalize as Trey Wafford ran it in from eight yards out to make it 16-10. The defense forced a punt on Griffin’s next drive. Senior John-Mark Rhodes ran the ball 75 yards down to the Griffin 3-yard line where Wafford punched it in to make it 16-16.
Griffin responded though, taking it the length of the field scoring a touchdown to regain the lead 23-16. Whitewater answered with a recovered onside kick and, lead by Wafford and junior Kendall Conley; the Wildcats scored a touchdown but went for a 2 point conversion and failed. Griffin lead 23-22. With less than three minutes to go and no timeouts, Whitewater was looking defeat in the face, but they didn’t quit. The defense forced a 3 and out, and Whitewater took over at their own 40 yard line with 55 seconds to go. Trey Wafford and John-Mark Rhodes made big plays on the drive and it appeared the Wildcats would once again come away with a close win, but the Wildcats only made it to the Griffin 30 yard line with six seconds left and one play left. The Cats couldn’t convert the long field goal and Griffin went home with the win 23-22.
The Bears have made the next step on a journey they hope ends at the Georgia Dome and will keep playing. Whitewater ends their season on a sour note, having lost their last two games, by very small margins.
Landmark Christian (8-2) made the Class A playoffs after beating eighth ranked Wesleyan 16-10. It was their second win in a row since dropping two straight. Landmark dominated the time of possession and rushing yards behind the physical offensive line and running backs. Offensively it was truly a team effort as twelve different War Eagles rushed, passed, or received the ball. Sophomore running back Jeremiah Kirkland continued his impressive season and lead the team in rushing yards. Seniors Donald Payne and Chase McFarlin scored on the ground while senior Garrison Adams led the War Eagles in receiving and kicked a big field goal late in the third quarter.
Defensively, Landmark was the aggressor giving up only one score while forcing two turnovers. The secondary led by seniors Cantrell Frazier, Payne and junior Cole Higbie shut down the high powered Wesleyan offense and made timely big plays to end drives and get the ball back to the offense.
In other Class A action, Our Lady of Mercy (6-4) beat King’s Ridge Christian 56-24. Rashard Fant had two rushing touchdowns and an interception return for a touchdown as well.
In region 3-AAAA games, Starr’s Mill beat Dutchtown 27-26. The Bulldogs led 14-0, but Starr’s Mill got a touchdown from John Smith (five carries for 28 yards) before a Panther interception was returned for a touchdown and a 20-7 lead. Smith missed the entire second half with an injury. Jason Lindner (five catches for 68 yards) scored the first of his two touchdowns, his second was the game winner in the closing moments of the fourth quarter, and quarterback Dylan Autera (13 of 25 passing for 125 yards, 18 rushes for 71 yards) added another on a one yard run. Randon Ruff and Alex Riddle both had three catches in the game.
Defensively, Davis Aasen had 13 total tackles, a tackle for a loss and three quarterback pressures, Canard Cooper had 11 total tackles, a quarterback pressure, a sack and a tackle for a loss and Mike Muska added 14 total tackles and a tackle for a loss. Logan Williams added 10 tackles and a sack and Michael Giunta added nine total tackles.
Despite missing a full two games due to injury, Smith finished the year with 1,109 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. For the season, Autera completed 67-of-133 passes for 828 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for 412 yards and eight touchdowns. Ruff ended the year as the Panthers’ top receiver, with 19 receptions for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Lindner had 20 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns while Riddle had 19 catches for 199 yards.
Fayette County beat Woodland, Henry 28-14. Trevus Edwards had two touchdowns while rushing for 29 yards on seven carries. Justin Murray (11 carries for 34 yards) had a touchdown as well. The Tigers rushed for 171 yards and passed for 47. TJ kelly had 3 punts for 115 yards and Eric Guardino had four kickoffs for 174 yards.
McIntosh lost to Ola 22-21 in overtime. Jake Turner and Andrew Johnson (2) scored touchdowns in the game.
Kennington Smith assisted with this story.