Two Top 10 teams went toe-to-toe at Hallford Stadium on Friday with No. 6 Allatoona coming out on top of the No. 10 Stephenson Jaguars 23-13 in a Class 6A Sweet 16 playoff game.
The score was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter with Allatoona (9-2-1) driving, but the Jaguar defense stiffened to force a 31-yard field goal by the Buccaneers’’ Jude Kelly as Allatoona took a 3-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the half.
Stephenson (10-2) answered the field goal by scoring on an 18-yard touchdown run by Deondre Jackson with 7:50 left in the first half. The score was set up by a 47-yard pass play from Joseph Jackson to Trevon Ferrell. Emmanuel Rios connected on the PAT to give the Jaguars a 7-3 lead.
Allatoona’s next drive stalled as Stephenson’s Savion Brooks-Aubert sacked Buccaneers quarterback Dante Marshall for a 15-yard loss to force a 47-yard field goal by Kelly that trimmed the lead to 7-6 with 3:45 left in the half.
The Jaguars failed to move the football and a short punt gave Allatoona the time it needed to take the lead for good. It only took the Buccaneers five plays to go 48 yards with the aid of targeting call on the Jaguars with Marshall finishing the drive with a two-yard sneak into the end zone. Kelly’s PAT made it 13-7 heading into the half.
Allatoona stopped the Jaguars cold on the opening drive of the second half and drove 45 yards in 11 plays with Kelly hitting a 20-yard field goal to make it a 16-7 game with 3:40 left in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers would get a one-yard run by Marshall for his second touchdown of the night to extend the lead to 23-7 with 11:11 to play as Kelly added the PAT. The scoring drive was set up after Stephenson fumbled following a 42-yard pass play from Joseph Jackson to Deondre Jackson to stop a potential scored drive by the Jaguars.
Stephenson blocked a punt with 4:50 to play in the game to take over at the Allatoona 26. An illegal procedure call and a third and 17 pass was intercepted by Allatoona to end the threat and all but seal the game.
The Jaguars who had been limited to just 124 yards through almost four quarters got the ball back at its own 12 with just over a minute to play and two plays later Deondre Jackson burst up the middle 86 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Trailing 23-13, the Jaguars faked the PAT and went for two which failed with 25 seconds to play.
Two onside kick attempts failed and Allatoona ran out the final 25 seconds to seal the win.
Deondre Jackson finished with 121 yards rushing on just eight carries with two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 40 yards in the game.
Allatoona’s Alex Wilson finished with 31 carries for 120 yards to lead the Buccaneers into the Elite 8 of the Class 6A state playoffs against Coffee.