Prep Football: East Coweta battles but falls at Sandy Creek, 31-7
By DOUG GORMAN
TYRONE — Sandy Creek might be the No.1-ranked team in Class AAAA and the Patriots might have entered the contest with a 31-game regular season winning streak, but East Coweta made them work hard to prove it on Thursday.
Despite a lopsided 31-7 victory by the Patriots, the Indians never let Sandy Creek totally dominate the game.
For the Indians, it was a bitter pill to swallow. East Coweta (1-2) couldn’t take advantage of good field position early and some costly penalties by Sandy Creek (3-0).
“I thought we played hard and grew up tonight,” said East Coweta head coach Clint Wade. “I am happy about that.”
Despite the loss, field position wasn’t a problem for the Indians. Turnovers were.
The Indians gave the ball back to Sandy Creek three times in the first half after crossing midfield.
“We just weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone,” Wade said.
East Coweta moved the ball inside the Patriots 5-yard line on two straight series in the first half, but both drives ended with turnovers.
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The Patriots took a 7-0 in the first series of the game when Delvin Weems capped the drive with a 7-yard run.
The Indians nearly answered the touchdown drive with a long series of its own that started at its own 31. East Coweta kept the drive alive when Bryce Gemmel connected with Nigel Gay on a 68-yard screen pass.
Two plays later, Sandy Creek regained the momentum when Shaq Wiggins intercepted a pass in the end zone.
East Coweta kept itself in the game, crushing the Patriots' ensuing drive by forcing a Sandy Creek fumble by quarterback Cole Garvin. The fumble was recovered by senior Cliffton Strong.
Strong also had a sack while creating problems for Sandy Creek’s veteran offensive line.
The Indians had another chance denied after marching the ball deep into Patriots territory. This time Dee Godfrey was hit near the 1, with the ball popping loose before he could cross the goal line. Sandy Creek fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
After a couple of changes of position, Sandy Creek ended the first half just like the Patriots started it, scoring a touchdown when Demarre Kitt scored right before the break.
It took Sandy Creek one play to find the end zone at the start of the second half. Swinney took a handoff from Garvin, cut around a couple of Indians’ defenders en route to an 80-yard run for a 21-0 lead.
Gay, who made some big catches for the Indians, also came up with a big defensive play for the Indians to stop a late third quarter drive with an interception.
The Patriots managed to go up by four touchdowns early in the fourth quarter when Swinney scored again from the 1 with 11:53 remaining.
Nearly eight minutes later, East Coweta got on the board when Wyatt Potter leaped over two defenders in the end zone to haul in Gemmel’s pass. The play came as the Indians were facing a fourth--and-9 situation.
It was the second fourth-down conversion of the game by the Indians.
Sandy Creek place kicker Mitchell McMillan rounded out the scoring with a 32-yard field goal.
SCORING SUMMARY – Sandy Creek 31, East Coweta 7
East Coweta 0 0 0 7 — 7
Sandy Creek 7 7 7 10 — 31
SC – Delvin Weems 17 yard run, (Mitchell McMillan kick), 5:23
SC – Cole Calvin 17 pass to DeMarre Kitt, (McMillan kick), 10:16
SC – Eric Swinney 80 run (McMillan kick), 11:44
SC – Swinney 1 run (McMillan kick), 11:53
EC – Bryce Gemmel 26 pass to Wyatt Potter, (Spencer Smith), 3:52
SC – McMillan 32 field goal, 2:25