Five Second Half Touchdowns Propel Saints to Class 3A State Title
A DeKalb County record setting fourth state championship went to the Cedar Grove Saints as they scored five touchdowns after a one-hour weather delay to blow out the Carver Panthers 56-26 at Center Parc Stadium in the Class 3A State Championship game.
Carver trailing 21-14 were driving at the Saints’ 22-yard line when a lightning delay sent the teams to the locker rooms for an hour. The game which started at 12:00 noon resumed at 3:10 pm with the Panthers looking to tie the game with 8:05 left in the third quarter.
The first play after the resumption Cedar Grove’s Quinterio Lawson recovered a fumble at the Saints 19. Five plays later Jamar Graham threw to the outside and receiver Trevon Ferrell adjusted to the pass wide open behind the defense for a 40-yard scoring play to extend the lead to 28-14 on Amari Forte’s fourth PAT of the game.
Two plays later Cedar Grove’s Jakyre Horton picked off a Bryce Bowen’s pass, the first of three in the second half by the Saints, and returned it to the Carver 34 with 4:49 to play in the third quarter.
Facing second and 10 at the Carver 23, the Panthers were called for roughing the passer to move the ball to the 12. Two plays later from the five Rashod Dubinion faked inside and outran three defenders to the outside and into the endzone. Forte was good again on the PAT and the Saints were cruising 35-14 with 3:42 to play.
Carver answered back with a Jarveous Brown two-yard TD run to pull within 35-20 with 1:23 to play in the third period. The two-point try was no good.
Cedar Grove came right back as Graham, who passed for a season high 362 yards and five touchdowns, engineered another scoring drive with a fourth and six scramble for seven yards to keep the drive alive. A 16-yard pass play to Boden Walker moved the ball inside the Carver 15.
Three plays later Dubinion went up the middle into the endzone with 10:07 to play. Forte again converted the PAT to extend the Saints lead to 42-20.
Quintavious Lockett pulled Carver back within 42-26 with a 26-yard touchdown run with 8:54 to play. The two-point try was no good once again.
Cedar Grove was forced to punt on its next possession, but on first and 15 from its own 15 Carver’s pass was picked off by Kayin Lee and returned to the 13. A penalty, 1 of 19 on the Saints, pushed the ball back to the Carver 28.
Graham completed passes of 14 yards to Ferrell and then connected with Ricky Lee for a 14-yard scoring toss with 3:50 remaining to up the advantage to 49-26.
Kayin Lee picked off his second pass of the fourth quarter on Carver’s next possession giving the Saints the football at the Carver 22 with 3:32 to play.
The Saints ran three consecutive times up the middle to ice the game as Robert Snell picked up a bobbled snap in the back field and broke a couple tackles on his for a 13-yard touchdown run. Forte hit his eighth PAT to make it 56-26 with 1:57 to play.
Carver had opened the game driving down for a touchdown as Devonte Buchannan took a swing pass from Bowens and weaved his way into the endzone for the opening scored. A bad snap on the PAT resulted in a failed two-point play for a 6-0 Panther’s lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter.