Week 9 was filled with top 10 matchups and region contests that had major significance regarding the race for the playoffs. Here are some of the most notable results.
In Region 8-AAAA, North Oconee built on a 14-0 halftime lead with an explosive 30-point effort in the third quarter to defeat visiting St. Pius (44-0) for the first time in school history and improve its overall record to a perfect 8-0. Titans quarterback Bubba Chandler threw six total touchdown passes—two each to Bennett Toci and Eli Warrington, one to Max Tumblin and another to Gavin Bloom. North Oconee also registered a safety midway through the third quarter that increased the lead to 30-0. Chandler finished the game 17-of-25 passing for 318 yards to go with his six touchdown passes.
Cartersville held off visiting Sandy Creek 52-42 in a thrilling shootout at home to record its 56th-straight regular-season victory and 51st-straight region victory. Sandy Creek’s Rashad Amos rushed for two touchdowns and caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Williams in the first quarter, but Cartersville kept it tied 21-21 at the end of the frame with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Tee Webb to Sam Phillips and two rushing touchdowns from Evan Slocum. Cartersville grabbed its first lead of the game (28-21) with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Webb to Devonte Ross before Sandy Creek tied it back with Williams’ 43-yard touchdown pass to Ahmad Jackson. Webb hit Phillips on a screen that went for a 71-yard touchdown to put the Canes up 35-28, and Sandy Creek turned it over on its next possession, allowing Cartersville to sneak in an Oscar Hernandez field goal before the half to grow the lead to 38-28. Possession went to Cartersville to open the second half and Harrison Allen capped off a long drive with a 4-yard touchdown. Allen returned to the end zone with 4:35 left in the period to make it 52-28. Williams ran in a 7-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 52-36 early in the fourth quarter and found Miles Thornton for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 8:15 left to make it a 10-point game.
Top-ranked Marist (7-0) kept its perfect season alive with an impressive 37-14 road victory over ninth-ranked Denmark (5-2). The War Eagles used three Richard Bowen field goals and a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Connor Cigelske to take a 16-7 lead at the half. Bowen was unable to connect on a field goal attempt on Marist’s opening drive of the second half, but Denmark turned it over on downs on its following possession and the teams each went scoreless in the frame. Marist opened the fourth quarter with a three-touchdown scoring burst, getting a pair of touchdown runs by Lincoln Parker and a Tyler Hare fumble recovery touchdown with 6:32 left to play that made it 37-7. Denmark quarterback Aaron McLaughlin scored on a 31-yard touchdown run in the opening half, and he connected with Casey Gunn on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 to play.
Also in Region 7-AAAA, Blessed Trinity picked up a 20-17 overtime win against Flowery Branch, holding the Falcons to a field goal to set up the game-winning drive. Junior quarterback Duncan Reavis connected with junior Carson Harof on a 48-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter to give the Titans the lead. Flowery Branch finally got on the board in the third quarter with a rushing touchdown to tie the game. Blessed Trinity responded with a long rush from freshman Justice Haynes that set up his own 4-yard touchdown rush to regain the lead. With just over nine minutes left in the game, the Falcons managed to rush in another score to force overtime and scored a field goal on their first drive. However, the Titans’ Elijah Green was able to punch through to the end zone on a 1-yard run to win the game.
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