ROSWELL, Ga. – Chattahoochee scored on all four of its second half possessions and came up with a pair of fourth quarter stops to get past Centennial 33-20 last Thursday night, securing a playoff berth for the Cougars.
Centennial scored with 20 seconds left in the third period to take a 20-17 lead, but the Cougars responded with 16 fourth quarter points while holding the Knights scoreless.
The victory gave Chattahoochee the fourth state playoff berth from Region 6-AAAAAA, as the Cougars finished the regular season 5-2 in the region and 7-3 overall. The Cougars tied Johns Creek for third, but lost to the Gladiators, giving Johns Creek the No. 3 region seed.
After struggling to get their ground game going for much of the season, the Cougars put together another balanced offensive effort, with running backs C.J. Leggett and Chase Nelson combining for 151 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Chattahoochee quarterback Travis Marshall passed for 221 yards and a 64-yard touchdown to Collin Lisa with 1:44 to play to clinch the victory.
“We took what the defense gave us,” Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder said.
On third-and-7 from their 36 with just under two minutes to play, the Knights were looking to prevent a first down, leaving Lisa in single coverage.
“We knew they were one-on-one against our best guy,” Crowder said. “We took a shot and it worked.”
Marshall lofted a pass just over the Centennial defender. Lisa made the catch and took it into the end zone, culminating an outstanding second half showing by the Chattahoochee offense.
After struggling early, the Cougars scored twice in the second quarter to take a 14-7 halftime lead.
Marshall connected on three passes for 57 yards, and Leggett scored from the 6 to tie the game 7-7 early in the second period following a fourth-down stop by the Cougars’ defense.
The Cougars scored again on their next series, with Nelson breaking the tie on a 3-yard run. Nelson had a 41-yard touchdown run nullified by a penalty, but got the Cougars back in scoring position, taking a screen pass 30 yards to the Centennial 6.
The Knights started the second half with an 80-yard drive, scoring on an 8-yard pass from Chase Rosenberg to Alex Prescott. A questionable pass interference penalty in the end zone gave the Knights a chance for a touchdown, but the extra point try failed to leave the Cougars ahead 14-13.
After a 32-yard field goal by Chattahoochee’s Adam Abdellaoui, the Knights regained the lead on an 8-yard pass from Rosenberg to freshman Caden Herring, who had 10 catches for 101 yards and a 27-yard run that keyed the previous touchdown drive.
Herring and Christian Robinson accounted for 75 of the 80 yards on the go-ahead drive, with Robinson finishing with eight receptions for 125 yards. Rosenberg was 31 of 49 for 319 yards and scored the first Centennial TD on a 2-yard sneak.
Trailing 20-17, the Cougars took the lead on a 4-yard run by Leggett with 9:30 to play. A 49-yard burst by Leggett got the drive started.
A 27-yard field goal by Abdellaoui after a 3-and-out by the Chattahoochee defense put the Cougars ahead 27-20, and they made the key stop of the game after the Knights penetrated the Chattahoochee 25.
After a rocky start, the Knights finished 3-7, 3-4 in the region.
“To be 0-5 and giving up 40-something points a game to win three of our last five was a great achievement,” Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg said. “The kids fought like crazy and had no quit in them.
“Going 3-7 doesn’t tell the tale of the season.”