Football season concludes with championship game
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Another high-school football season is in the history books.
By the time the final game was completed on Wednesday night in Atlanta, eight different teams, including the Callaway Cavaliers, had been crowned as state champions.
For the second straight year, the championship games were played at Center Parc Stadium, home of the Georgia State Panthers.
There were two championship games on Monday, and three games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Here’s a look at each game:
Callaway 22, Fitzgerald 17
Callaway won its first state championship with a hard-fought win over Fitzgerald on Tuesday in the first of three games on the day.
Charlie Dixon ran for 229 yards, and he had a 69-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter that gave Callaway a 22-10 lead.
Quarterback Demetrius Coleman ran for 100 yards and had a 4-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half, and Coleman also threw a 40-yard scoring pass to Carlos Billingslea.
Callaway also scored on a safety when Jalin Shephard
made a tackle in the end zone in the first quarter, and Blake Eubanks made both of his extra-point attempts.
LaQuize Gilbert, Callaway’s outstanding senior linebacker, led the defensive effort with 14 tackles.
Cameron Smith had two interceptions, and Shephard had an interception on the final play of the game.
CLASS A PRIVATE
TRINITY CHRISTIAN 21
Brock Vandagriff, the future Georgia Bulldog, had a big day to lead his team to a championship.
Vandagriff completed 18-of-25 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns, and he also ran for 87 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown.
Trinity Christian quarterback David Dallas tried to keep his team in the game by throwing for 277 yards with a touchdown, and he also had 61 rushing yards with two touchdowns.
Leading 27-21 in the fourth quarter, Prince Avenue scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to put it away.
CLASS A PUBLIC
IRWIN COUNTY 27
BROOKS COUNTY 19
After falling behind 7-0 early, Irwin County charged back to build a 27-13 lead, and it held on to secure the state title.
Gabriel Benyard ran for 92 yards on 14 attempts with two touchdowns for Irwin County, and Cody Soliday completed 9-of-1 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown.
Nitavion Burrus threw for 125 yards with two touchdowns for Brooks County, and Omari Arnold has 115 rushing yards with a touchdown.
PIERCE COUNTY 13, OCONEE COUNTY 7
In a game that was scoreless through three quarters, Pierce County came through with an overtime touchdown to earn the state title.
Running back DJ Bell accounted for much of the Pierce County offense, and he scored both of his team’s touchdowns.
Bell, who ran for 158 yards on 29 attempts, had a 5-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, and a 15-yard touchdown run in overtime to win it.
For Oconee County, Jacob Wright threw a touchdown pass to Jake Johnson early in the fourth quarter.
MARIST 30, JEFFERSON 14
Marist outscored Jefferson 16-0 in the second half to secure the state title.
Marist made a tackle in the end zone for a safety in the third quarter, and it scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put it away.
Champ Davis ran for 87 yards and had a touchdown for Marist, and Andrew Mannelly and George Parker each had a scoring run.
Jordan Perry had two rushing touchdowns for Jefferson, and Malaki Starks ran for 111 yards.
WARNER ROBINS 62, CARTERSVILLE 28
It was all Warner Robins, which had nearly 600 yards of offense in the blowout win.
The game was tied 14-14 in the second quarter when Warner Robins scored the next 28 points to blow it open.
Three different Warner Robins players ran for more than 100 yards, including quarterback Jalen Addie, who had a monster day. Addie completed 16-of-18 passes for 299 yards with three touchdowns, and he also ran for 107 yards with three touchdowns.
Jahlen Rutherford ran for 143 yards with a touchdown, and Malcolm Brown had 102 rushing yards with a touchown.
Carlos Del Rio-Wilson threw for 225 yards with two touchdowns for Cartersville, and Quante Jennings had a scoring run. Sam Phillips also had a kickoff return for a touchdown for Cartersville.
BUFORD 34, LEE COUNTY 31
Buford earned a thrilling overtime win over Lee County to earn another state title for the powerhouse program.
After Alejandro Mata made a 26-yard field goal on Buford’s overtime possession, Lee County’s hopes ended with a lost fumble just short of the goal line.
Ashton Daniels completed 13-of-17 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns for Buford, and he led his team on a game-tying touchdown drive in the closing moments of regulation.
For Lee County, quarterback Chancey Magwood completed 9-of-11 passes for 183 yards with a touchdown, and he also ran for 91 yards with a touchdown.
Caleb McDowell added 92 rushing yards with a touchdown, and he also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score.
GRAYSON 38, COLLINS HILL 14
In the final game of the playoffs, Grayson built a 35-0 halftime lead on the way to the one-sided win.
Quarterback Jack Garcia completed 10-of-18 passes for 136 yards with two touchdowns, and Jamal Haynes had six catches for 114 yards with a touchdown.
Joseph Taylor ran for 124 yards on 15 attempts, and Jayvian Allen had three touchdown runs.