Harrison converted two blocked field goals and an interception into 17 points and turned what otherwise had been a tight game into a 20-7 victory over rival Allatoona in the all-Cobb County Class AAAAAA football championship game Friday night at Georgia State Stadium.
Second-ranked Harrison capped off a 15-0 season and became the fourth Cobb team in history to claim a GHSA football title, joining 2015 Allatoona, 2014 Mount Paran Christian and 1967 Marietta. The victory was Harrison’s second this season against Allatoona, following a 21-17 win in the regular season that ultimately decided the Region 6 title. The two games against Allatoona were the Hoyas’ two closest of the season.
Seventh-ranked Allatoona, playing in its second state final in five seasons, finished 11-3-1.
“It’s been one of the most unbelievable runs because of the way the guys focused this year,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “We talked about that last year we came up short [a second-round loss]. We had to do all the little things. We had to be disciplined, and I’m very proud of the way they handled it this year.”
Harrison took a lead it would not relinquish when Christian Lowery kicked a 40-yard field goal with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter to make it a 3-0 game, but the momentum and ultimately the game swung on the two blocked field-goal attempts, both of which would have tied the game.
The first, on a 42-yard attempt by first-team all-region kicker Jude Kelley early in the second quarter, immediately produced results for Hoyas. Malakai Taft recovered and returned it to the Allatoona 49-yard line, and on the next play Hall threw a touchdown pass to Jay Ziglor for a 10-0 lead with 9:11 remaining in the half.
Harrison led 10-7 early in the third quarter when a 34-yard field goal attempt by Kelley was blocked after a low snap, and the Hoyas recovered at their own 16-yard line. From there, Harrison drove 61 yards in 11 plays and increased the lead to 13-7 on another 40-yard field goal by Lowery.
On the second play of Allatoona’s next possession, Brandon Carter intercepted a tipped pass and returned it to the Allatoona 2. Hall scored on a quarterback sneak on the next play to make it 20-7.
Allatoona got the ball three more times but got no closer than the Harrison 33-yard line.
The Buccaneers ran 15 more plays than Harrison, had a four-minute advantage in time of possession and finished with a 206-205 advantage in total offense but couldn’t overcome the points lost on turnovers.
Allatoona’s Alex Wilson ran for 120 yards on 31 time-consuming carries. Quarterback Dante Marshall was just 3-of-14 passing for 39 yards but had an 18-yard touchdown pass to Asante Das and ran for 33 yards on nine carries.
Harrison was led by Hall’s 117 yards on 6-of-10 passing in a hard rain. Mason Babay had 33 of the Hoyas’ 88 yards rushing.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Hall said. “We’ve been wanting to do this our whole lives, and to finally accomplish it is a dream come true for all of us. [Allatoona’s] a really great team, and they’ve got a great coaching staff, but we fought hard and came up with the W.”
Harrison – 3-7-10-0 – 20
Allatoona – 0-7-0-0 – 7
H – Christian Lowery 40 field goal, 3:40
H – Jay Ziglor 49 pass from Gavin Hall (Lowery kick), 9:11
A – Asante Das 18 pass from Dante Marshall (Jude Kelley kick), 5:27
H – Lowery 40 field goal, 2:11
H – Hall 2 run (Lowery kick), 1:11
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