GRIFFIN -- Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio summed up the long night in one unforgettable phrase.
"The third quarter was an avalanche of things that went against us,'' said Fabrizio, whose Trojans saw their season end Friday in a 41-13 loss to eighth-ranked Griffin in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs,
Lee County (7-4) was trailing just 7-3 at halftime, but two long kickoff returns, a fake punt, and a 50-yard TD pass ignited Griffin (10-1), which then built a 41-6 lead. Lee County got two field goals from Mike Bacon of 30 and 26 yards, and Justin Walker scored on a 9-yard run in the final minutes, but the Trojans never recovered from the third quarter.
"They scored on a punt return in the first half and we had a touchdown called back because of an inadvertent whistle,'' Fabrizio said. "Otherwise, we would have led at halftime. Then everything went wrong in the third quarter.. We had three interceptions in the third quarter, and they ran two kickoffs back deep into our end. They hit us every which way in the third quarter.''
Fabrizio's wide-open offense never got on track as Walker, who set a state record last week with a 591-yard night against Warner Robins, completed just 18-of-29 passes for 154 yards and for the first time this season he did not throw a touchdown pass. He threw 39 for the season.
"They're good,'' Fabrizio said. "They had two big defensive ends and they kept pressure on us all night.''
Denzel Eckles gained 93 yards on 12 carries and caught five passes for 21 yards, and Sanford Seay had four catches for 35 yards.
"I'm real proud of them,'' Fabrizio said. "We had a great season.''
ECI 26, SEMINOLE COUNTY 7:
DONALSONVILLE -- Seminole County feared what Emanuel County Institute's Darion Moody might do to them Friday night.
And those fears were confirmed.
Moody scored twice, and added a two-point conversion, as ECI took advantage of an unmotivated Indians squad, 27-6, in the GHSA Class A state playoff opener for both. Seminole had been averaging 35 points a game coming in, but couldn't get much going all game.
"We were flat and I'm not sure why, but credit (ECI). They executed and are well-coached," Seminole County coach Alan Ingram said. "We'd been playing so well, I just don't quite know what happened."
Indians star RB Chris Brown, in his second game back from an injury that kept him out all season, was held in check on the night and had to play defense more than Ingram had hoped, leaving Brown worn down when it came time to turn it up on offense.
"With him coming back, he wasn't in good enough condition to do both and be effective," Ingram said. "And we just didn't get the ball to the right people (Friday night). It's as simple as that."
Seminole's only TD was scored by Dee Virgin on a five-yard sweep set up by an Antwan Buggs 24-yard pass to Jaquan Johnson in the second quarter to pull to within 14-6 of ECI -- but that's as close as Seminole would get. Virgin also had an interception.
"We'll just go back, get ready for next year and learn from our mistakes," said Ingram, whose team finished the season 7-4. "I hate it for the six seniors we lose, but we've got quite a few (key players) coming back. And we'll be back."
BRIARWOOD 30, RANDOLPH SOUTHERN 28:
Randolph Southern saw its season come to a heartbreaking end in the closing moments Friday. The Patriots were leading and trying to hang on to a 28-22 lead with 1:51 left in the game but Briarwood was able to convert on fourth-and-10 with 32 seconds remaining before scoring the game-tying touchdown with six seconds on the clock. But rather than kick the extra point, Briarwood gave it to its fullback up the middle for the game-winning two-point conversion.
"I'm very proud of my team," Randolph Southern coach Ottis Griggs said. "No one thought we would have a season like this. The coaches did a great job and the players responded well. It was a great season."
Grant Kimbrel carried the ball 15 times for 116 yards and scored two touchdowns in the loss, while Daylon Blanton added another 132 yard on the ground and a TD.
JOHNSON COUNTY 55, TERRELL COUNTY 14:
A 40-yard touchdown pass from Jerkerious Scott to Charles Brown and a TD run by Basheer Rogers were the only bright spots in Terrell
County's season finale.
"It was an up-and-down season," said Terrell County coach William Huff, whose team finishes 5-6. "It's like life and sometimes it's hard -- but you just keep moving on."
Johnson County is ranked No. 5 in the Class A state poll and hadn't been held under 40 points in its last five games.
THOMSON 21, WORTH COUNTY 19:
Worth was down, 14-0, in the second half, before storming back only to lose in a close contest.
Will Peacock was exceptional in the loss, as he completed 14-of-26 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Kareem McDaniel had two touchdown catches for Worth and Trey Frager chipped in with a TD reception.