ROSWELL, Ga. — A glance at the box score for Alpharetta and Centennial’s Friday night meeting shows the Raiders led for exactly 0:00. But that was enough to down the Knights in the second straight thrilling game between the programs.
Alpharetta entered the fourth quarter trailing by 14, but scored 17 unanswered points to open region play with a 34-31 win.
The Raiders’ comeback began with nine minutes remaining when Alpharetta used three pass completions and a pass interference call to move just outside the red zone.
Alpharetta quarterback Matthew Downing found Marcus Hill on third-and-11 for a 24-yard touchdown to cut the lead to one score.
Centennial burned nearly four minutes off the clock, but its ensuing drive stalled at midfield.
Alpharetta took over on offense with 2:44 remaining and soon faced a fourth-and-two to keep their hopes a comeback alive.
Alpharetta had run zone read plays throughout the night, and with the game on the line, it finally opened up for Downing to take the ball.
Downing found a seam around the left tackle and went untouched for 65-yards and a touchdown to tie the game with just over a minute remaining.
“At some point we knew that play would open up for [Downing],” Alpharetta head coach Jacob Nichols said.
Centennial’s offense had moved the ball effectively throughout the game, but didn’t have the same success in the fourth. Nichols said once Centennial ran out of plays his defense hadn’t seen before, the Raider defense stood tall.
Centennial was looking for a rally of their own, suddenly playing in a tied game. But on the third play of the Knights’ drive, quarterback Max Brosmer was intercepted by Alpharetta’s Jaycee Horn at the 35-yard line.
Horn returned his second interception of the game to Centennial’s 14-yard line, setting the Raiders up for the comeback win with 34 seconds left.
Two rushes from Kevin Watkins pushed the Raiders to the 4-yard line and Alpharetta called a timeout with three seconds remaining.
Dylan Schorr then continued his perfect streak on field goals this season with a 20-yarder to seal the Raiders 34-31 comeback win.
Nichols said his team will need to stop shooting themselves in the foot as his team incurred over 100-yards of penalties and lost two turnovers. But he said it was definitely a positive to see his team find the end zone. Entering Friday’s game, 24 of Alpharetta’s 38 points on the season had come thanks to Schorr’s eight field goals.
The Raiders compiled 396 yards of total offense with Downing throwing for 228 with two touchdowns. Downing also rushed for 72 yards and a score behind the game’s leading rusher, Alpharetta’s Kevin Watkins.
Centennial’s offense put up big numbers as well with quarterback Brosmer going 23-34 for 228 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Emeka Nwanze led the Knights in rushing with 76 yards.
Centennial opened a 10-0 lead after a 29-yard field goal from Nicky Solomon and a Brosmer touchdown pass to Cal Dickie following an Alpharetta fumble.
Watkins cut the Knights’ lead with a 58-yard touchdown rush midway through the first, but Centennial scored two unanswered touchdowns to go up 24-7.
A Downing touchdown pass to Robbie Ruppel and a Schorr field goal put the Knights’ lead at 24-17 at the half.
Max Brosmer scored Centennial’s final score early in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard touchdown rush.