Allatoona scored two touchdowns and converted two two-point attempts in the final six minutes to rally for a 23-14 victory Friday over visiting Hapeville Charter in a battle of top-10 teams from different classifications.
The loss ended a 19-game winning streak for Hapeville, the defending state champion and No. 1-ranked team in Class AA. Allatoona (5-2), the No. 9 team in Class AAAAAA, has won five consecutive games since starting the season 0-2.
Allatoona trailed 14-7 after Hapeville quarterback Jeremy Stephens scored on a 4-yard run with 8:05 to play The Buccaneers then drove 80 yards on six plays, scoring on an 11–yard run by T.J. Carr to pull within 14-13. Carr ran in the two-point conversion to give Allatoona a 15-14 lead with 5:26 to play.
“Do you want to go to overtime against these guys? I don’t,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said of his decision to go for two points.”So I just went for it. I figured we had a shot. There’s was no reason to not go for it.”
Allatoona got the ball back quickly when it held Hapeville on its next possession, sacking Stephens on fourth-and-7 and taking possession at the Hornets’ 14 with about four minutes to play. Quarterback Dante Marshall scored three plays later on a 10-yard run, and Carr ran in the two-point conversion to put the game away with 2:43 left.
Carr finished with 13 carries for 62 yards, 57 of which came in the second half. The Buccaneers rushed for 191 yards, and Marshall was 6-of-9 passing for 64 yards.
“I though we did a good job,” Varner said of the offense. “We told them it would be a great test. I thought we moved the ball pretty well, although we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. But overall against that team we moved the ball very well.”
Hapeville (6-1) had allowed just three points this season, none since a 33-3 victory over Heard County in the second game of the season. Allatoona ended that streak when Marshall scored on fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line on the final play of the second quarter.
Hapeville pulled even on a 17-yard touchdown run by Marcus Carroll on its first possession of the second half. Carroll finished with 101 yards rushing on 20 carries to lead the Hornets, who had 281 yards of total offense.
Neither team moved the ball well in the first two quarters - Hapeville finished the half with 116 yards to Allatoona’s 108 - but both had their opportunities, as six of their combined eight possessions ended in the opponents’ territory.
However, neither team was able to take advantage until late in the half.
Two of Hapeville’s drives ended with turnovers, including an interception at the goal line after its had driven to the Allatoona 15 on its opening possession.
Allatoona missed a 41-yard field goal on its first possession and lost a fumble inside the Hapeville 10-yard line with about two minutes to play in the second quarter. Hapeville recovered the fumble in the end zone but was forced to punt after three plays lost 3 yards. Allatoona’s Izaiah Taylor returned the kick 27 yards to the Hapeville 22 with 1:23 remaining in the quarter.
The Buccaneers went the final 22 yards in five plays for a 7-0 lead, scoring on a Marshall first touchdown run.
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