The biggest game—and most dramatic ending—came with Blessed Trinity’s 21-20 overtime victory at Flowery Branch. The host Falcons rallied two touchdowns back to force overtime at 14-14. Blessed Trinity scored on the first possession of the extra period for the go ahead 21-14. The Falcons answered with a Zarian Browner touchdown run, but rather than going for the PAT, the Falcons gambled with a do-or-die 2-point conversion and Elijah Gainey’s pass attempt fell incomplete. I cautioned about the importance of red zone execution while previewing this matchup Thursday and the failed 2-point conversion was not the only miscue Flowery Branch committed in the defeat. Blessed Trinity built its lead with a Jake Smith QB sneak on the Titans’ opening drive. Eight seconds into the second quarter, Flowery Branch appeared to be in position to even the score, but Gainey’s pass was intercepted by Smith at the 7-yard line and returned 93 yards to put the Titans up 14-0. Gainey found Jalin Strown for a 41-yard touchdown pass before the half and the duo hooked back up with 8:58 left in the third quarter from 13 yards out to tie it. 14-14.
Elsewhere in the classification, Ridgeland put up a school-record points in a 69-7 home win, emphatically beating visiting LaFayette to extend the Panthers win streak under first-year head coach Cortney Braswell to five. Quarterback Tanner Hill threw both of his touchdown passes in the first quarter — a 12-yarder to Stephon Walker and a 52-yard completion to Torrance Roberts that was set up by Jordan Hughley’s fumble recovery — and Terrance Roberts added the first of Ridgeland’s seven scores on the ground in the frame as well. Walker’s interception kicked off a big second quarter that ended with the Ramblers in a 48-o hole at the half. Shawn Wilson had two touchdown runs during the onslaught — including a 47-yarder — and Hughley and Roberts each took trips to the endzone on a 51-yard run and a 14-yard blocked punt return, respectively. Jordan Blackwell had two rushing touchdowns and Azavear Blackwell ran in one in the third quarter to put the Panthers out front 69-0. LaFayette Senior Alan Hu saved the Ramblers from a shutout with a 3-yard run in the final minutes of the game.
Oconee County went toe-to-toe with host Stephens County in a big region matchup before closing out a 20-14 win. The game remained scoreless after the first quarter and most of the second, but Stephens County pounded into the end-zone for the lead in the final minute of the first half. After a opening second-half defensive sequence, Oconee County cut the deficit to 7-6 behind a Max Johnson touchdown, unable to tie on a miss extra-point. Stephens County went 3-and-out on its next possession and Oconee took advantage. Julian Benitez gave the Warriors the 14-7 lead on a 8-yard touchdown run, and Johnson found Seth Caldwell for the touchdown and 20-7 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the third. With time winding down, Stephens County cut the lead to 20-14, but it was too late; Oconee County went into victory formation and held on for the win on the road.
Tahj Gary did just about everything for Woodward Academy as the War Eagles cruised past Hampton 36-11. Gary led the team rushing with 14 carries for 72 yards and a score and he also returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown. He ran for a nine-yard TD as part of a 16-0 third quarter that broke open what had been a competitive 10-3 game at halftime. Woodward also got touchdowns from Alan Wright and Miles Montgomery plus three field goals by Marshall Golick. After taking a brief 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter, Hampton managed only a safety the rest of the way until Untavais Varner scored from one yard out with seven seconds remaining.
Cartersville eked out a 7-0 victory over Sandy Creek. Marcus Gary rushed for the game-winning touchdown with 3:08 to play and Oscar Hernandez made the extra point to give Cartersville the win at Sandy Creek. Gary rushed 26 times for 125 yards, and Cartersville quarterback Tee Webb was 12-of-21 passing for 90 yards and two interceptions, both in the third quarter.
Troup defeated LaGrange 35-14. Trey Williams returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to put undefeated Troup (7-0) on the board first at Columbus Memorial Stadium. Tyree Carlisle added a 10-yard rushing touchdown early in the second quarter and quarterback Kobe Hudson ran in an 8-yard score with 1:15 left in the half. The Grangers managed to get on the board before the break with a Charles Crawford 19-yard touchdown to pass to Jordan Ogletree to cut it to 21-7. Hudson padded the lead with his second rushing score and Crawford connected with Ogletree a second time to bring it to 28-14. Hudson went through the air for the game’s final points, an 18-yard touchdown pass to Trea Mitchell.
Eastside defeated Salem 26-14. Eastside quarterback Noah Cook got the Eagles going early with a touchdown pass to Jamari Brown and a touchdown run less than three minutes into the game. Eagles kicker Kade Mote drilled a pair of field goals—including a 44-yarder—to extend the lead to 20-0. Salem’s Donald Wilson rushed for a touchdown, but Cook answered with a touchdown pass to Antavious Cook and the Eagles closed out the Seminoles in the fourth to improve to 7-0.
Marist demolished Denmark 57-7. The host War Eagles jumped out to a 50-0 lead before Denmark got on the board just before the half. Quarterback Connor Cigelske and Brett Zoeller each rushed for touchdowns, and Cogelske connected with Zoeller for a 72-yard score to make it 29-0. Mitch Owens and Joshua Moore each returned interceptions for touchdowns, Lincoln Parker added a 19-yard touchdown and Patrick Miles scored on a 30-yard run to make it 50-0.