Mt. Pisgah 28 – Mt. Paran 24

Patriots beat Mt. Paran in last-minute thriller



JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – An Aaron Winchester 19-yard touchdown pass to Ben Miller with 29 seconds left proved to be the winner as the Mount Pisgah Patriots came from behind to defeat Mount Paran 28-24 Friday night. The No. 7 Patriots improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in region play.

With Mount Paran leading 24-21 in the closing minutes, the Eagles faced a third and two from the Pisgah 44 yard line. The Patriot defense held Mount Paran to one yard and then, led by Blake Smith, stuffed the offense on fourth and one to get the ball back with 1:30 left on the clock.

Winchester led the Patriots on a seven-play drive as the clock wound down capped by his 19-yard screen pass to Miller that went for a touchdown.

Pisgah had trailed until that point as Mount Paran scored the only points in the first quarter on a two yard touchdown run. Later the Eagles kicked a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter to lead 10-0. The Patriots went into the break down 10-7 after an Aaron Winchester 10-yard touchdown pass to Oz Dixon.

Mount Paran extended ITS lead in the third quarter to 17-7 after a 40-yard touchdown run, but the Patriots answered with a 49-yard screen pass to Browning Dunn at the end of the third to cut the lead to 17-14.

The Eagles appeared to have the game sealed when they scored a 77-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to lead 24-14.

But the comeback Pats were not done. On the ensuing drive, Pisgah was closing in on the end zone, but an intentional grounding call left the Patriots with a third and long situation. Fortunately, three Mt. Paran offside penalties gave Pisgah a first down.

Pisgah capitalized on the Eagles miscues when Winchester found Miller for an 8-yard touchdown pass to cut the Mt. Paran lead to 24-21 with a little over four minutes to play. This set up the defensive stand and the game winning touchdown drive.

Winchester once again led the offense, finishing 20-for-42 for 247 yards and four touchdowns and 93 rushing yards. Miller had 66 yards on five catches, including two touchdowns. Dunn had 121 all-purpose yards and a touchdown, while Dixon had 89 receiving yards with a touchdown. Dixon also blocked an Eagle field goal attempt in the first quarter.

The defense finished with numerous players with multiple tackles, but Jacob Delk led the team with 14 tackles and his fifth interception of the year. Smith, Dixon and Nicky Piccapietra each added another nine tackles.

The win gives the Patriots the sub-Region championship. The Region 6-A champion will be determined by the GHSA Power Rankings. Pisgah will host Fellowship next week for their Senior Night game. The Paladins are 5-3 overall this season and 2-2 in Region play.

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