Allatoona senior running back Adrian Boyd rushed for 216 yards, ran for two touchdowns and, perhaps most important, controlled the flow of the game, leading his team to a 22-12 victory over Alexander in a Class AAAAAA non-region game Friday at Allatoona.
Boyd scored on runs of 23 and 11 yards in the first five minutes of the second quarter to give the Buccaneers a 15-0 lead, and his 30 carries helped limit Alexander to just 42 offensive plays for the game.
“He ran the ball and controlled the game,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “He had some great effort runs. We’ve been waiting for that high energy to come from him, and I think he’s going to get better throughout the year and I think the offensive line’s going to get better throughout the year.”
Boyd got help on offense from sophomre quarterback Dante Marshall, who was 5-of-6 passing for 80 yards, rushed for 28 yards on nine carries and scored on a 9-yard run early in the fourth quarter for a 22-6 lead that essentially put the game away.
The victory avenged a 21-13 loss to Alexander that was part of the Buccaneers’ 0-3 start last season. Allatoona recovered during region play, earning the No. 3 seed in Region 6-AAAAAA and reaching the second round of the playoffs before finishing the year 6-6. Alexander went 10-2 in 2016.
“In the coaches’ minds, it’s about building up to region,” Varner said. “But you want the kids to get the win. They’ve been working hard, and it just feels a lot better. But we’ve got a long way to go. We were dropping balls, fumbling balls, but we’ll get better as the year goes along.”
Allatoona (1-1) turned the ball over on downs at midfield on its first possession, but Boyd found a lot of room to run after that. His touchdown runs on the next two possessions gave the Buccaneers a 15-0 lead with 7:58 to play in the first half. Allatoona made a two-point conversion after the first touchdown when Payton Eeles passed to Dawson Coltran after a mishandled snap on the kick attempt.
Alexander (0-1) had the ball inside the Allatoona 25-yard line three times in the first half but came away with just six points. The Cougars recovered a fumble at the 20 and scored five plays later on a 12-yard run by quarterback Mason Wood, cutting the score to 15-6 with 2:15 to play in the second quarter.
The Cougars failed to take advantage of the earlier scoring opportunities, fumbling into the end zone from the 4-yard line late in the first quarter and being forced to punt when a drive that began at the Allatoona 23 was pushed back to the 40 after a 15-yard penalty and a sack.
Alexander’s other touchdown came on an 80-yard pass from Wood to Michiah Randolph on the first play from scrimmage after Allatoona had taken a 22-6 lead.
Wood was 13-for-18 passing for 200 yards and ran for 27 yards on eight carries. Quinton Brown led the Cougars with 31 yards rushing on 10 carries, and Randolph caught five passes for 131 yards.
“They played great all night long,” Varner said of his defense. “We had that one big bust, the busted coverage. We just have to try to make the game interesting. We’ll have to look at the film to figure out where that miscommunication came. But we put them in some bad situations on offense tonight. The defense won the game, there’s no question about that. The offense could’ve won the game, but we didn’t finish.”
Alexander - 0-6-0-6 - 12
Allatoona - 0-15-0-7 - 22
Allatoona - Adrian Boyd 23 run (Dawson Coltran pass from Payton Eeles)
Allatoona - Boyd 11 run (Skyler Davis kick)
Alexander - Mason Wood 12 run (kick failed)
Allatoona - Dante Marshall 9 run (Davis kick)
Alexander - Michiah Randolph 80 pass from Wood (kick failed)