Marietta crushes Eastside Catholic 53-14 in bowl series

Marietta crushes Eastside Catholic 53-14 in bowl series
Marietta quarterback Harrison Bailey (5) attempts a pass in the first half against Lowndes during the Class AAAAAAA high school football state title game at Georgia State Stadium Saturday, December 14, 2019 in Atlanta. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC) (Jason Getz, AJC/Jason Getz/AJC)

LAS VEGAS -- Marietta scored on four of its first 10 offensive plays, including its first two of the game, and routed Eastside Catholic of Sammamish, Wash., 53-14 Friday in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in Las Vegas.

Marietta quarterback Harrison Bailey, playing only in the first half, completed 14 of 18 passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns. The Blue Devils got three touchdown receptions each from Ricky White (34, 28 and 69 yards) and Taji Johnson (70, 65 and 18 yards).

The Blue Devils outgained Eastside Catholic 516-168 in the first half and led 46-7 at halftime. The second half was played with a running clock.

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Marietta (14-2) scored on its first play from scrimmage when backup quarterback Tyler Hughes took a handoff from Bailey and threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Arik Gilbert, named as the Gatorade national player of the year.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan handed him the award on Tuesday morning at the school.

After getting the ball back on an interception, Bailey threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Kimani Vidal for a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

Hughes also threw a touchdown pass in the third quarter, Johnson’s 18-yard reception, to complete the Blue Devils’ scoring.

Last weekend, Marietta beat Lowndes 17-9 in Georgia’s Class AAAAAAA final to claim its first state title since 1967 and become the first Cobb County-based team in history to win two state championships.

Eastside Catholic (12-2) won its second consecutive Washington Class 3A championship and fourth in six years.

Marietta is the third Georgia team to compete in the bowl series. In 2018, Lee County played St. Frances Academy of Baltimore at home and lost 43-14. In 2016, the event’s inaugural year, Valdosta lost to Chandler of Arizona 44-24 in Texas.