Sports

November 9, 2013

Lions win, await fate in ratings

Christian Heritage School’s football team knows it is headed for the Class A private school state playoffs when they begin in two weeks. The Lions will head into the bracket on the strength of back-to-back wins that had a postseason feel.

Christian Heritage’s defense stopped Fellowship Christian on first-and-goal from inside the 5-yard line three times to force a field goal on fourth down, and the Lions scored on the first play of their first possession in overtime when Austin Lowe ran 25 yards to the end zone for a 27-24 victory Friday in Roswell. The win came one week after the Lions (8-2) rallied to win 24-20 at Trion.

“I was just telling (the team), that’s two emotional wins in a row,” Lions coach Preston Poag said. “It’s hard to play a team two times. We beat (Fellowship Christian) bad last year and this year. We came out a little flat. But when the time came in overtime ... Games like this are playoff football. These last two weeks were sort of like the playoffs.”

Christian Heritage, which led 14-7 at halftime and going into the final quarter, was up 21-14 late in the final period when the Paladins (5-5) intercepted a pass and churned out a quick scoring drive to tie the game at 21-all with 38 seconds to play.

The Region 6-A crossover matchup closed the regular season. Christian Heritage will make the state playoffs, but their position in the bracket won’t be known until Tuesday, when the final Class A power ratings are released.

Cass 46, Southeast Whitfield 14: Southeast (4-6) hung with Cass (4-6) for a half. The second half of their Region 7-4A crossover game — which closed the season for both teams — was a different story.

Sophomore quarterback Will Swantic accounted for both scores for the Raiders, who trailed just 10-7 at halftime before the Colonels took off. In the second quarter, Swantic scored on a 5-yard run. In the third quarter, he connected with Blake Foster on a 6-yard touchdown pass.

“It’s not what we wanted,” Southeast coach Sean Gray said. “We wanted six wins. We had a good senior class. It was the second best year in the past 20 for Southeast. We wanted more. We’ve got high expectations and we feel like we know what it’s going to take to get us to the next level.”

Adairsville 42, Coahulla Creek 16: Coahulla Creek used two first-half interceptions — by defensive linemen, of all people — to hang with host Adairsville during the early part of their Region 5-3A matchup. But in the end, the Tigers (7-3, 5-2) were too much on offense for the visiting Colts.

The scoring for Coahulla Creek consisted of a touchdown run by Cameron Burton and quarterback Blaine Williams tossing a touchdown pass to receiver Levi Wilson. Cristian Castro recorded a third-quarter safety, and fellow defensive linemen Joel Phllips and Blake Sissom had interceptions.

The Colts ended the year with wins over Murray County (Aug. 30) and Gordon Central (Oct. 4). It was the final high school game for 15 Coahulla Creek seniors.

“We started this school with this group of kids,” Coahulla Creek coach Jared Hamlin said. “It’s extremely tough to lose them because they started a foundation here, and nobody knows all of the things we’ve had to go through over the past three years. They’re a group of good young men with good character.”

Coosa 60, Murray County 3: The Indians (1-9, 0-7 Region 7-2A) got their lone points on a 32-yard field goal by Jose Ruiz in the third quarter as they closed the season with a loss in Rome.

Junior quarterback Justin Smith completed nine passes for 96 yards to lead Murray County, which finished its first campaign under head coach Chad Brewer.

“We made progress in a lot of areas in our program,” he said. “We definitely got our foundation down. We’ve got a lot of kids in a very good senior class leaving us and we’re going to miss them, but they started something that I hope we can continue to build on. The good thing about it is we’ve got a lot of kids coming back that got a lot of good minutes this year.”

Rome News-Tribune correspondent Destiny Adams contributed to this report.

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