STATE PREP FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Buford bests Calhoun for Class AA, Chattahoochee dominates Starr's Mill in Class AAAA

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ATLANTA -- Dominique Swope scored on a 9-yard run in overtime and Buford became just the second Georgia high school to win four consecutive state football championships, defeating Calhoun 31-24 for the Class AA title Friday night at the Georgia Dome.

Calhoun, down by 17 points in the third quarter, forced overtime on freshman Brandon Blaylock's 45-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation.

It was the third straight victory over the Yellow Jackets in the title game for the Wolves, who have won seven of their eight state championships since 2001. The only other school to win four titles in a row was West Rome, also in Class AA, from 1982-85.

Calhoun (14-1) won the toss to start overtime and Buford (14-1) got the ball on the 15. Alexander Ross, who was 12 of 15 passing for 139 yards, was sacked on second down, but the Yellow Jackets were called for a facemask penalty. Swope scored on the next play.

When the Yellow Jackets got the ball, Landon Curtis was sacked by Kurt Freitag on third down and a fourth-down pass failed to pick up the first down needed to extend overtime.

Buford led 14-0 before the game was 4 minutes old. Seon Jones scored from the 3-yard line to cap an 80-yard drive after the opening kickoff and Ryan Dillard, who later had an interception, turned a fumble on Calhoun's third offensive play into a 58-yard TD return.

Calhoun's Dustin Christian scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter to cut the lead in half, but David Petroni's 28-yard field goal late in the quarter made it 17-7 at halftime.

Buford went up 24-7 on a 24-yard TD pass from Ross to Kurt Freitag early in the third quarter before Christian got the Yellow Jackets back within 10 points on an 8-yard TD run midway in the period.

Curtis was picked off in the end zone by C.J. Moore early in the fourth quarter, but came back to throw a 30-yard TD pass to Chase Rierson with 7:44 remained that cut the Buford lead to 24-21 and set up the dramatic ending to regulation.

After pinning Buford deep with a punt, Calhoun got the ball back at the Wolves' 43 and overcame a holding penalty to get close enough for Blaylock's tying kick.

Buford beat the Yellow Jackets 45-21 in 2008 and 13-10 last year. The Wolves are 9-0 in games at the Georgia Dome.

Calhoun's only state title came in 1952. The Yellow Jackets have been runners-up five times.



ATLANTA -- Senior quarterback Timmy Byerly accounted for 220 yards and his 51st touchdown as unbeaten Chattahoochee won its first state title, blanking Starr's Mill 24-0 in the Class AAAA championship game Friday night at the Georgia Dome.

Byerly, who finished with 30 passing touchdowns and 21 on the ground this season, scored on a 3-yard run and had 108 yards rushing to go with 112 passing. The Cougars, in their 20th season, had made it as far as the semifinals just once previously, losing to Brunswick in 1999.

Chattahoochee (15-0) held previously unbeaten Starr's Mill (14-1) to nine first downs and outgained the Panthers 318 yards to 195. It was the Cougars' first shutout of the season.

Chase Nelson and Kane Whitehurst also scored touchdowns for Chattahoochee, and Ammon Lakip kicked a 50-yard field goal. Byerly was 7 for 12 passing, with four passes going to Whitehurst for 83 yards.

Lakip put the Cougars ahead with his field goal midway in the first quarter and Byerly made it 10-0 with his touchdown run early in the second quarter.

The field goal was Lakip's 14th of the season and just a yard short of his longest for the year. He booted a 51-yarder to beat Marist 31-28 in the second round of the playoffs and a 27-yarder in the semifinals as time expired to edge Statesboro 22-21.

The only scoring threat for Starr's Mill ended with Ryan Nowicki's missed field goal try from 43 yards out shortly before halftime.

Nelson made it 17-0 after the second-half kickoff, capping an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run for the Cougars. The drive featured a 32-yard run by Byerly and his 27-yard pass to Whitehurst.

Whitehurst scored on a 12-yard run early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

The Cougars dropped down in classification this season after going 3-7 and 4-6 the past two years in Class AAAAA. Starr's Mill also had a bounce-back year under new coach Chad Phillips after going 14-17 the previous three seasons.