The start could hardly have been sloppier for the Marietta Blue Devils.
They managed 17 yards in the first quarter, turned the ball over to end their first possession and amassed more than 100 yards in penalties in the first half.
When they weren’t doing all that, Newnan couldn’t stop them.
Quarterback Brenton Martin shook off the early interception and passed for five touchdowns, including two in the final five minutes of the first half, sparking the Blue Devils to a 52-21 win Friday night at Drake Stadium, avenging a 38-29 loss to the Cougars last year.
Marietta, which went 8-4 in 2012, had lost the previous three meetings with Newnan in a series that dates to at least 1923.
The Blue Devils converted a fumble and a blocked punt into 10 first-half points. Martin finished with 248 yards passing as the Blue Devils compiled 463 total yards. KirVonte’ Benson added 144 rushing yards on 17 carries. That was more than enough to negate Marietta’s 18 penalties for 155 yards.
Newnan quarterback Bailey Bryant passed for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
Marietta’s Kadeem Wallington recovered a Newnan fumble at the Cougars’ 23 and the Blue Devils converted it into points despite going backward with a pair of penalties. Ian Shannon’s 45-yard field-goal attempt was good with plenty to spare for a 3-0 lead.
The Blue Devils drove 53 yards in eight plays in the second quarter, scoring on Martin’s 21-yard pass to Jordan Mathis for a 10-0 lead with 4:58 left in the half.
Following a blocked punt, Martin connected with Marcus Bennett for a 20-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left in the half to go up 17-0.
Newnan, which went 9-3 in 2012, drove 70 yards in seven plays to get on the board, aided by a pass-interference penalty that gave them a first down at the Marietta 33. Four plays later Bryant lofted a pass to the corner from 11 yards out and 6-foot-8 receiver Immanuel Griggs brought it down for the Cougars’ first score.
Marietta capitalized on another Newnan fumble to open the second half, sparking a 28-point third quarter. Benson broke off a 41-yard run to put the Blue Devils in position to score, then Martin connected with Mathis on a 7-yard pass.
Bryant connected with Chrishawn Dix on a 75-yard touchdown pass to pull Newnan within 23-14, but Martin’s 75-yard strike to Bennett and Tyrell Martin’s 10-yard run put the game out of reach.
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