Lovett 21, Woodward Academy 20

Wes Haley blocked a Woodward Academy point-after-touchdown with 33 seconds left to preserve 21-20 Lovett win over the War Eagles Friday night at Martin E. Kilpatrick Stadium in Atlanta.

Josh Johnson’s one-handed touchdown catch of an 8-yard Jess Sutherland pass almost forced overtime. The Lions stopped junior speedster Elijah Holyfield on the previous possession, but Marcus Hyatt intercepted Willie Candler and returned the ball to the Lovett 11. Holyfield, who scored eight times in Woodward’s two wins, carried 38 times for 260 yards and two touchdowns.

Haley, a senior defensive back, rushed off left end and tipped the William Collings kick.

With the win, Lovett (2-2, ranked No. 4 in Class AA) continued its recent dominance over Woodward (2-1). The Lions have won five in a row and seven of the last eight matchups. Lovett limped through a brutal non-region schedule that included Class AAAA Woodward and Marist and neighbor Westminster (Class AAA) after a season-opening win over Pace Academy.

Lovett went ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter behind a 2-yard from senior quarterback Willie Candler. The Lions used a fake punt on fourth down from their own 48 to extend the drive, and a 26-yard run from Candler put Lovett at the War Eagles 13. An 11-yard run from Jay Harris set up first-and-goal and Candler scored on the next play.

Late in the second quarter Lovett managed a 65-yard drive that featured a 43-yard scramble from Candler and a jump pass to tight end Will Geraghty.

Lost fumbles spoiled three Woodward first-half drives inside Lovett territory, the last coming with less than a minute to play before the break. On third down from the Lovett 11, quarterback Mack Green dropped back to pass and was hit before Lions defensive end Jack Barnes fell on the ball. Barnes also recovered a Green fumble on the previous drive.

Another lost fumble by Holyfield on Woodward’s early in the third quarter led to a second touchdown pass from Candler to Geraghty, giving the Lions a 21-0 lead with 6:09 to play. Holyfield had run for 43 yards on three carries before the drop. Candler finished 8-of-19 for 76 yards passing and 123 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Holyfield pulled Woodward within 21-7 with a 2-yard run late in the third quarter. He accounted for all 64 yards on the drive, rushing for 48 yards on five carries and catching a 16-yard pass from Sutherland. Holyfield rushed for 180 yards after halftime.

Woodward         0              0              7              13           20

Lovett                   7              7              7              0              21

L – Willie Candler 2 run (Cole McGowan kick)

L – Candler 8 pass to Will Geraghty (McGowan kick)

L – Candler 10 pass to Geraghty (McGowan kick)

W – Elijah Holyfield 2 run (William Collings kick)

W – Holyfield 8 run (Collings kick)

W – Jess Sutherland 8 pass to Josh Johnson (kick failed)