NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — For the first time since 2014, a North Fulton team will not play for a state championship after three previously undefeated teams dropped their quarterfinals matchups Friday night.
Milton, Blessed Trinity and Fellowship Christian all suffered their first losses of the season, ending their bids for a spot in the semifinals and state title hopes.
West Forsyth, seeking its program’s first berth in the semifinals, also lost.
Lowndes 23, Milton 10
Milton’s undefeated season was ended by south Georgia powerhouse Lowndes, who took down the Eagles 23-13 in the Eagle’s Nest Friday night. The win earned Lowndes some revenge after Milton won the only previous meeting of the teams, a semifinal matchup in 2018.
Milton tied the game at 7-7 on the opening play of the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run from Jordan McDonald. After forcing the Vikings into a three-and-out, the Eagles looked to take the lead on a Jason Aussin field goal, but the kick was blocked.
Late in the second, Bryce Thornton came down with a pick for Milton, but the Eagles were forced to punt and the score remained 7-7 at the half.
The Vikings reclaimed the lead with a 27-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half. The teams traded possessions throughout the third, but neither could find points.
Milton was set up with a short field early in the fourth, but the Vikings held on a fourth-down play to set up their second rushing score of the night with seven minutes remaining in the game.
The Vikings extended the margin to 23-7 with four minutes left after forcing another Milton turnover-on-downs and a 38-yard touchdown run.
There was still hope for Milton, though, and it came on the next play. Cam Cainion returned the ensuing kickoff 95-yards for a score to cut the deficit to 10 points.
Lowndes recovered Milton’s onside kick, but the Eagles’ offense was shortly back on the field. After two long completions with just over a minute remaining, Lowndes intercepted a pass in the end zone to quell Milton’s comeback hopes and end its season.
The Eagles finished the season 11-1 and captured the program’s third straight Region 5-7A title.
Grayson 33, West Forsyth 0
West Forsyth fell short of earning the program’s first trip to the semifinals Friday night with No. 1 ranked Grayson ending the Wolverines’ season via shutout. West was making its second appearance it the quarterfinals in its away matchup.
The Rams led 13-0 at the half behind a touchdown pass and an interception returned for a touchdown and continued to build their lead in the third quarter.
Grayson scored on its opening two possessions of the period to take a 26-0 lead and held West scoreless for the first time this season.
The Wolverines compiled a 9-4 overall record in Dave Svehla’s inaugural season at the helm and captured their first region title since 2012.
Warner Robins 35, Blessed Trinity 28
Blessed Trinity fell short in a battle of the top two ranked teams in Class 5A Friday night at home, ending the No. 1 Titans bid for a fourth straight state championship. BT erased a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter, but the Demons scored in the final minute to hand the Titans their first loss of the season and just third in the last four seasons.
The Titans scored on their opening possession of the game with a Justice Haynes touchdown run.
Blessed Trinity’s defense held on a fourth-and-5 play on Warner Robins’ ensuing drive, but the Demons went over the top on their next possession for a 46-yard touchdown pass. Warner Robins drove deep inside BT territory on its next two drives, but the score remained 7-7 with the Demons missing field goals on each possession.
In what was a theme for the night, Warner Robins was set up with a short field on its next drive and capitalized with a 37-yard touchdown pass with under two minutes left in the first half.
BT marched down the field on the opening possession of the third quarter and tied the contest again with a touchdown run from Haynes. The Demons responded quickly with a touchdown drive capped off by a 12-yard quarterback run.
Warner Robins missed another field goal, but they scored on a 60-yard touchdown rush up the middle to go up 28-14 with nine minutes remaining.
Playing in the unfamiliar territory of trailing, BT then scored two straight touchdowns to tie the game.
Quarterback JC French connected with Jackson Hamilton for a 39-yard touchdown, and the Titans’ offense again took over on the Demons’ 30-yard line after a three-and-out and errant punt. BT needed just one rush from Haynes, his third score of the night, to tie the game with four minutes to go.
Though BT had the momentum, Warner Robins used a mix of rushes and a few passes to effectively drive down the field and set up inside BT’s 5-yard line with under a minute to go. After milking some clock, the Demons punched it in from a yard out with 16 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
BT caught a ray of hope on the first play of their drive, a 35-yard pass inside Demons’ territory. However, French was tackled while looking for a receiver on the next play, and BT had no timeouts to stop the clock, which expired before they could run another play.
The Titans went 8-1 overall this season and captured the program’s seventh region title in eight years.
Trinity Christian 41, Fellowship Christian 27
Fellowship Christian’s dominant, undefeated season was gutted Friday night in Sharpsburg with the Paladins taking a loss to Trinity Christian in a battle of top-10 ranked teams.
Trinity came out swinging and scored touchdowns on its opening three possessions while stonewalling Fellowship’s stellar offense.
The Paladins stopped the bleeding early in the second quarter with a third-down touchdown throw from Eli Hildebrandt to Clay Shepler, but the Lions wasted no time in putting their lead back at three scores with another long touchdown on their next possession.
The Paladins drove to the red zone on the ensuing drive, but a fourth-and-9 play fell short of moving the chain.
Fellowship looked to half its deficit with three minutes left in the second quarter, but Trinity held on three rushes inside its own three-yard line to force a turnover on downs.The Paladins did break through just before the half on a short rushing score from Murphy Reeves with 13 second remaining.
Trinity fumbled inside its own 10-yard line on its first drive of the third quarter but recovered and scored on the next play. The Lions added another score to lead 41-13 after three quarters.
Fellowship continued to fight, and with 10 minutes remaining Jayven Hall earned a touchdown rush to cut the gap. Midway through the final period, Murphy Reeves scored from 19-yards out to put the Paladins within two scores, 41-27.
The comeback was not to be, though.
Trinity ran down much of the remaining clock, and an intentional grounding call on Fellowship’s next drive forced a fourth-and-37 situation the Paladins did not convert.
Fellowship went 10-1 this season and captured the program’s second straight Region 6-A title.