Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Championship games in review


Class AAAAAAA

North Gwinnett 19, Colquitt County 17

Recap: North Gwinnett's Cameron Clark kicked the game-winning 38-yard field goal on an untimed down after Colquitt County was penalized for pass interference on what would've been the final play of the game. North Gwinnett drove 59 yards in 49 seconds to reach field-goal range, and 35 of the yards came on four penalties by Colquitt County, which was penalized 14 times for 102 yards in the game. Clark, who kicked a 29-yard field goal in the first half, missed an extra-point attempt following a 5-yard penalty after North Gwinnett had taken a 16-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter on Cameron Butler's 1-yard run. Colquitt County answered with a 12-play, five-minute drive capped by Steven Krajewski's 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hadley for a 17-16 lead with 49 seconds remaining. Tyler Goodson rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and Butler added 68 yards on nine carries for North Gwinnett, which outgained Colquitt 315-263. Jimmy Urzua was 13-of-19 passing for 135 yards and a TD. Ty Leggett led Colquitt with 53 yards rushing on 12 carries, and Krajewski was 14-of-25 passing for 160 yards.

History: North Gwinnett became the sixth Gwinnett County school to win a state championship in the highest classification since 2000, joining Parkview, Peachtree Ridge, Brookwood, Grayson and Norcross. The Bulldogs, who began playing varsity football in 1961, lost in previous championship-game appearances in 2007 and 2013. Colquitt County came up short in its bid for a third state championship in four seasons.

Class AAAAAA

Lee County 28, Coffee 21

Recap: Jase Orndorff's 11-yard touchdown pass to Drequan Garmon in overtime gave Lee County its only lead of the game, and Tay Mayo secured the victory with an interception on Coffee's ensuing possession. Coffee had a chance to win in regulation but missed a 29-yard field goal as time expired. Jameon Gaskin scored three touchdowns on short runs to give Coffee a 21-7 lead in the second quarter. Lee County cut the lead to 21-14 just before halftime on a 12-yard pass from Orndorff to Joshua Asbury, then pulled even on a 30-yard pass from Orndorff to Garmon with 2:14 to play in the fourth quarter. The victory was the second against Coffee this season for Lee County, which won 23-7 on Nov. 3 in the game that decided the Region 1-AAAAAA championship and ultimately home-field advantage in the state final.

History: Lee County, which began its football program in 1971, won its first state championship. The Trojans had not advanced past the second round in 10 previous trips to the playoffs. Lee County became the third Region 1 team in four years to win the title in the second-highest classification, joining Northside of Warner Robins in 2014 and Valdosta in 2016. This was the sixth championship game in state history, and fourth in three seasons, to be settled by overtime.

Class AAAAA

Rome 38, Warner Robins 0

Recap: Rome took control with a 21-point second quarter and finished the game with a running clock. Trai Hodges started the scoring with a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown, and K.J. Hicks finished it with a fumble recovery in the end zone with 11:55 to play. QB Knox Kadum was 8-of-12 passing for 90 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 73 yards and a score on 12 carries. Jamious Griffin rushed for 56 yards on 15 carries and scored on a 7-yard run. Rome held Warner Robins to 1 yard rushing on 12 carries and 104 yards overall. Rome had 52 rushing attempts for 234 yards.

History: Rome successfully defended its Class AAAAA title and extended its winning streak to 27 games. The Wolves' average margin of victory in the playoffs was 46.2 points, second in state history behind Eagle's Landing Christian's mark of 50.5 set this season. Warner Robins finished the season 14-1, a year after going 3-8.

Class AAAA

Blessed Trinity 16, Marist 7

Recap: Jake Smith threw a 9-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to give Blessed Trinity the lead for good, and the Titans' defense made it hold up. Smith, who played the second half with a broken thumb, completed his first eight passes of the game and finished 11-for-12 for 111 yards. Blessed Trinity led 14-0 after Steele Chambers' 3-yard touchdown run with 9:22 to play. Marist cut the lead to 14-7 on a 7-yard run by Charlie Addicks with 3:27 remaining and got the ball back at its 7-yard line with 1:33 left, but quarterback Chase Abshier was tackled for a safety for the game's final points. Marist came into the game averaging 228.5 yards rushing but was held by Blessed Trinity to 63 yards on 26 carries. Blessed Trinity ran for 175 yards, led by Elijah Green (15 carries, 95 yards) and Chambers (16 carries, 52 yards). Blessed Trinity outgained Marist 286-187.

History: This was the first state championship game in GHSA history between two Catholic schools. Blessed Trinity avenged a regular-season loss to Region 7-AAAA rival Marist and won the first state title in the program's 17-year history. The Titans previously reached the finals in 2015 but lost to Westminster in overtime. Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin became the 15th coach in GHSA history to win state titles at two schools. He won a championship at Roswell in 2006.

Class AA

Hapeville Charter 35, Rabun County 23

Recap: Quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams passed for 154 yards, rushed for 23 and accounted for all five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) for Hapeville Charter. The Hornets led 21-3 at halftime and 35-10 with 3:10 remaining before giving up two touchdowns in the game's final 1:31. Williams threw touchdown passes to Antawan Smith (15 yards), Andunte Devereux (7 yards) and Kivante' Johnson (20 yards) and scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards. Rabun County QB Bailey Fisher passed for 196 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 108 yards. He finished the season with 1,283 yards rushing, 3,341 yards passing and 70 combined touchdowns (43 passing, 27 rushing).

History: Hapeville Charter won its first state championship in the program's seventh year of existence. The Hornets made the playoffs for the first time last year and reached the semifinals. Hapeville joined 2013 Creekside as the only south Fulton County schools to win football state titles in the past 30 years. Rabun County, which started its program in 1949, was appearing in the finals for the first time.

Class A (public)

Clinch County 21, Irwin County 12

Recap: Trezmen Marshall rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown and Charles McClelland ran for 116 yards and two scores as Clinch County avenged a 21-7 regular-season loss to Irwin County. Clinch County held Irwin to 40 total yards in the game (19 passing, 21 rushing on 32 carries) and just 1 in the second half. Irwin County trailed 14-12 with less than three minutes left and had the ball at its 27, but Marshall had a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Clinch's Tahj Williams at the 24. McClelland scored on a 24-yard run two plays later to put the game away. Marshall had a 64-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and McClelland scored on a 34-yard run in the third. Clinch County completed just one of four passes (for 33 yards) but rushed for 246 yards on 46 carries.

History: This was the second time in three seasons that these Region 2-A rivals met in the state championship game. Both times, Irwin County won the regular-season game and the region title and Clinch County won the rematch and the state title. Clinch County became the sixth school in GHSA history to win seven championships.

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