Expectations were high for Stephenson, Southwest DeKalb and M.L. King this postseason, as those three schools combined are expected to have more than 40 players sign college football scholarships in about three months.
The three, however, were among six county schools that lost second-round state football playoff games on Friday, Nov. 20. St. Pius is the only team in the county to advance after a 17-3 win over North Hall.
Fourth-quarter breakdowns led to Stephenson’s 22-21 loss to Colquitt County and Southwest’s 19-17 loss to Clarke Central. Colquitt had two long kickoff returns that set up field goals in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner with less than three minutes remaining.
With the Panthers trailing 12-10 after overcoming a 12-0 deficit, Steven Coates threw an interception that was returned 42 yards for a touchdown with 36 seconds remaining and Clarke Central went on to win 19-17.
M.L. King had its string of four shutouts snapped in a 15-6 loss at Newnan. The Lions led 6-0 at halftime.
Southwest coach Buck Godfrey has said he expects more than 20 players to sign scholarships this year, and Stephenson has 16 players who have offers. M.L. King also is expected to have several players sign, including Florida commit Mack Brown who is regarded as the top running back in the state.
Tucker, the defending AAAA state champion, and 2008 runner-up Marist also had close calls. Marist lost to Apalachee 36-35 in overtime, and Tucker fell to Sandy Creek 17-14.
Colquitt County 22, Stephenson 21: The Jaguars (11-1) were hampered by three interceptions and a blocked punt. Those four miscues led to 14 points for the Packers. Raymond Sanders led the Jaguars’ rushing attack with 134 yards and two touchdowns. His second score gave the Jaguars a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. Colquitt answered with nine straight points to lead 19-14. Denzel Hartley gave the Jaguars the lead again 21-19 on a 19-yard run with 4:28 to play. But an 86-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by Quin Roberson set up the Packers for the game-winning field goal by Rich Tyndall.
Newnan 15, M.L. King 6: The Lions led 6-0 at halftime and held Newnan to only 34 yards offense in the first half. Christopher Robinson ran for two scores in the second half, the second after a fumble by the Lions’ Mack Brown. Hampered by a leg injury, Brown carried only three times.
Clarke Central 19, Southwest DeKalb 17: The Panthers (10-2) cut a 12-0 halftime lead to 12-10. The Gladiators’ Derrick Smalls intercepted a Steven Coates pass and returned it 42 yards for a score with less than a minute to play. Coates then hit William Goodwin for a touchdown on the second play after the kickoff to close the gap to 19-17. Southwest did not recover the onside kick. Ken Malcome had 77 yards and a touchdown but left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Sandy Creek 17, Tucker 14: The Patriots recovered a fumbled kickoff in the end zone and scored on a 74-yard punt return to end the Tigers season at 9-3.
Apalachee 36, Marist 35 (OT): Matt Connors rushed for 130 yards and scored a touchdown in overtime to give the War Eagles a 35-28 lead. Apalachee answered with a touchdown and two-point conversion to win. Patrick Sullivan added 105 yards rushing and three touchdowns on five carries. Andy Perez also rushed for a touchdown.
St. Pius 17, North Hall 3: Cole Moon rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns while George Kennedy had 118 yards rushing for the 12-0 Golden Lions. The defense held North Hall to only 34 yards of offense in the second half.
Gainesville 41, Dunwoody 10: Austin Breed kicked a 33-yard field goal as the Wildcats led 3-0 in the first quarter. The Red Elephants scored the next 33 points to put the game out of reach.