Georgia High School Football Review: State Champions Crowned
Posted On December 12, 2016
The last Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championship games were played in the Georgia Dome over the weekend. Two teams repeated as state champions (Cartersville and Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy) and two teams (Rome and Cedar Grove) won their first title in school history.
Here is a recap of what happened:
Class 7A – Grayson 23, Roswell 20 (ot)
Roswell led until 1:04 left when Grayson quarterback Chase Brice connected with Jaquavius Lane for a 35-yard touchdown pass. They made a two-point conversion to take a 20-13 lead. Roswell drove down the field and with five seconds left, Malik Willis hit Kentrell Barber on a 20-yard pass and the extra point sent the game into overtime. On Grayson’s first possession of the overtime, they scored on a 25-yard field goal by Will VanPamelen. Roswell was unable to answer the Grayson score as they missed on a field goal attempt giving Grayson the first Class 7A title and their second overall.
Class 6A -Valdosta 17, Tucker 7
It was back-to-the-future as the Valdosta Wildcats finally won their first state title since 1998 as the Wildcats built a 17-0 lead at halftime and held on to beat Tucker. The Wildcats’ defense frustrated Tucker’s comeback attempt. After Tucker scored with 2:30 left in the third quarter, the Tigers could not get in the end zone the rest of the way. The win for Valdosta is their 25th title in school history.
Class 5A – Rome 16, Buford 7
In the “battle of wolves” as we heard all game long from the announcers, Rome overcame an early 7-0 deficit just minutes into the game when Buford’s Anthony Grant returned the opening kickoff 95 yards which set up a 1-yard touchdown run by T.D. Roof. After that score, the Rome defense took over to hold Buford scoreless the rest of the game. Knox Kadum scored on a 28-yard run in the third quarter to give Rome their first lead in the game. The win give Rome their first state title in school history.
Class 4A -Cartersville 58, Thomson 7
Carterville’s Trey Creamer scored to first quarter touchdowns along with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to open the second quarter as the Purple Hurricanes cruised to a convincing win. Cartersville repeated as state champions and back-to-back 15-0 seasons.
Class 3A – Cedar Grove 30, Greater Atlanta Christian 19
The tone for this game was set early when Greater Atlanta Christian quarterback Davis Mills was taken out from a forearm of a Cedar Grove defender on the first drive of the game. Surprisingly there was no penalty or ejection for the hit. Mills never returned. Cedar Grove took a 23-3 lead before the end of the half but GAC stormed back in the fourth to close the lead to 23-19 on a 32-yard field goal by Sean Henderson. Cedar Grove delivered the final blow scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jelani Woods to Dennis Bell with 2:16 left for their first state title.
Class 2A – Benedictine 49, Fitzgerald 26
Fitzgerald scored first on a 36-yard touchdown run by J.D. King to take the early lead but Benedictine scored the next 35 points to take a 35-6 lead in the second quarter. The Purple Hurricanes mounted a comeback in the third quarter as they closed the gap to 35-26, but the Cadets answered with a 7-yard run by Tyleek Collins then the defense closed it out with a 43-yard interception return for a score with 1:36 left.
Class 1A (Public) – Macon County 35, McIntosh County Academy 0
Macon County outgained McIntosh County Academy 346-159 in total yardage and forced four fumbles in the game. A 21-point fourth quarter put the game away as Macon County quarterback K’Hari Lane had four touchdown passes in the game which broke Huston Mason’s record of 54 touchdown passes in a season.
Class 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy 34, Fellowship Christian 24 (ot)
Josh Mays scored on a 1-yard run to give ELCA the lead in overtime. On fourth down, Fellowship Christian’s Jack Hardin was forced out of the pocket and unable to complete the pass which gave the Chargers their second consecutive state title. Fellowship Christian had taken the lead when Merrick Haigler scored with 2:08 left but the Chargers drove down the field and set up Alex Usry with a 34-yard field goal with six second left to send the game into overtime.