“We had bad field position, we had penalties, we turned the ball over in the end zone,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “You name it, we did it wrong for 12 minutes. And the thing was, they only came away with 12 points. If they had come away with 21 or 28 points, it’s a different story. But we held them to just 12, and that’s just two touchdowns for us. The next two series we scored quick and we’re up at halftime, and at that point we felt like we had the game.”
The victory put Marietta (5-3, 2-1) in control of its own fate in the race for the Region 3-7A title. The Blue Devils, who lost to North Paulding in the teams’ region opener two weeks ago, can capture their first region championship since 2005 by winning their final two regular-season games. That will be a tall order, however, as those games are against third-ranked North Cobb (7-1, 3-0) and No. 6 Walton (5-2, 2-1).
“Like I told the kids, we’re playing Week 9 with first place on the line,” Morgan said. “You’ll take that at the beginning of the year any time. I’ll be honest with you, we’ve lost three games by 11 points, three games by a couple of plays here and there. So the record is what it is, but we know it could be a little bit better because we’ve let some slip away. Hopefully we’ve learned from that.”
Hughes completed 16 of 25 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries. Mathis had 106 receiving yards on four catches. Camden Overton had seven receptions for 97 yards and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Alexander had 124 yards rushing on 24 carries and added touchdowns rushing and receiving in the fourth quarter. He also put the exclamation point on the victory late in the game when he carried 13 times for 48 yards on the Blue Devils’ 10-play, 72-yard drive that ate up eight minutes and ended with Alexander’s third touchdown, a 3-yard run with less than a minute left.
“Being able to run the football and run the clock out the last eight minutes of the game … we’re a passing team,” Morgan said. “To be able to line up and dominate the line of scrimmage for the last eight minutes, that will serve us well moving forward.”
Harrison quarterback Jake Walling was 8-of-17 passing for 89 yards and a 44-yard touchdown to Brady Kluse. Akhnaton Shabazz led the running game with 36 yards on 11 carries.
Marietta - 0-14-7-14 - 35
Harrison - 9-3-0-0 - 12
H - Safety (fumble out of end zone), 7:00
H - Brady Kluse 44 pass from Jake Walling (AJ Daniels kick), 6:08
H - Daniels 28 field goal 11:47
M - Christian Mathis 47 pass from Tyler Hughes (Renee Galomo kick), 7:22
M - Melvin Alexander 2 run (Galomo kick), 1:35
M - Overton 10 pass from Hughes (Galomo kick), 7:48
M - Alexander 6 pass from Hughes (Galomo kick), 10:17
M - Alexander 3 run (Ben Parrot kick), 0:57