This weekend's action was for all the marbles as ten teams set out with goals of obtaining what only five teams could-a state championship. GAVarsity.com has all you need to know about this weekend's state finals.
Class AAAAA: Lowndes 34, North Gwinnett 6
In a game played under bad weather conditions, Lowndes got 184 yards from junior running back Greg Reid and 100 yards from senior tailback Darriet Perry and defended its soggy home turf, winning its third state title in four years, 34-6. Reid was undoubtedly the star of the game for the Vikings, as he took a handoff on Lowndes' first play from scrimmage, bounced to the outside and sprinted 91 yards for a touchdown. North Gwinnett had scoring opportunities early after a couple of Lowndes turnovers but could not convert them into points. Reid and Perry accounted for all Lowndes' offensive touchdowns as Reid added a 15-yard score and Perry scored on runs of three and 22 yards. Lowndes' other score came on a 70-yard interception return by Tavaris Williams. The Bulldogs' highly-touted junior quarterback Michael Tamburo managed 189 yards passing but was flustered all night by a tenacious Vikings defense and was picked off twice and sacked in the endzone for a safety. Lowndes has now won all five championship games it has played in. North Gwinnett was in search of its first ever state title and finishes with a 13-2 record.
Class AAAA: Northside-Warner Robins 20, Ware County 14
A season that has seen Northside battle through adversity culminated in a state championship Friday night in Waycross as the Eagles battled early turnovers to defeat Ware County 20-14 and win its second straight state championship. In stark contrast to last week's semifinal game, Marques Ivory was sluggish at the outset, turning the ball over three times in the first half. Last week, the senior quarterback who had missed the five previous games with a broken ankle, entered in the second half to lead a furious comeback against Tucker. Luckily, Northside had another senior to rely on. Senior tailback Tijuan Green accounted for 232 yards of offense and threw the game-winning touchdown. After taking a direct snap from center, Green hit receiver Nick Bass on a beautifully thrown 40-yard pass with 5:23 remaining in the game. Northside's defense also came up big, allowing only 98 yards of total offense to the Gators. Both Ware County touchdowns came after Northside turnovers. Victor Daniels was the star of the game for the Gators, intercepting Ivory twice and scoring one of Ware's two touchdowns. The Eagles won for the 30th time in a row and became only the seventh school in GHSA history to go 15-0 in consecutive seasons.
Class AAA: Carver-Columbus 16, Cairo 13
Carver may as well have watched the first three quarters from the stands as they have seem to have made a habit of fourth-quarter comebacks. For the third straight game, Carver won in the games' decisive moments, once again behind the antics of senior quarterback Deron Furr. This time Furr's late game heroics gave Carver it's first ever state title. Furr, who is committed to Auburn, ran for his third consecutive game-winning touchdown, this time a 24-yard dash with just over a minute remaining. In last week's semifinal game in the Georgia Dome, Furr scored on a three-yard run with ten seconds left to shatter Chamblee's hopes of reaching the state finals. Fellow Auburn commit, Jarmon Fortson had a great game from his wide receiver position, catching six passes for 100 yards and also ran for a touchdown, and came up big on defense as well, sacking Cairo quarterback Angelo Pease deep in Syrupmaker territory in the final moments. Pease accounted for 164 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
Class AA: Buford 50, Lovett 0
At some point it's just not fair. Last night got to that point for Lovett. Having played Buford closer than any team had all season just a few weeks ago, Lovett seemingly came in with the extra confidence it would take to defeat the Wolves. So much for that. Buford, who beat Lovett 21-0 back on November 9th, had this one wrapped up by halftime, leading 30-0 behind the rushing attack of Tyler King and Demetrius Murray and a stingy defense that allowed only nine first-half yards. King ran for three first half touchdowns and Murray amassed 203 yards on 15 carries to give Buford, who pitched its seventh shutout of the season, its fourth title in seven years.
Class A: Emanuel County Institute 41, Wilcox County 21
Washaun Ealey was another star that continued his playoff heroics, rushing for 261 yards and three touchdowns, pushing his season total to 2,971 yards and a state-record 58 touchdowns and helped give ECI its first state title since Warren Harding was in the White House, 41-21 over Wilcox County. Collectively, the Bulldogs ran for 343 yards on 57 carries. Ealey got it going early, scoring the game's first touchdown on a seven yard run as ECI scored on its first three possessions. Safety LaCollie Gordon came up big on defense, intercepting two Lorenzo Dennard passes. Lorenzo completed 12 of 21 passes for 189 yards, with twin brother Alfonzo catching five of those passes for 114 yards for Wilcox, whose season ended at 13-2.