Up the Creek: Newnan stumbles against mighty Sandy Creek
By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Newnan knew it had to play near perfect Friday night. Sandy Creek needed just one snap to end those hopes.
Patriots quarterback Cole Garvin connected on a 59-yard pass play to receiver Kyle Wilson, and from there the Cougars found the climb all uphill in a 38-7 loss at Drake Stadium in the first football meeting between the two programs in school history.
After mowing through 2-1 Newnan without much of a sweat, East Coweta could have its hands full. Sandy Creek outgained the Cougars by a 303-93 margin by halftime and 47 of Newnan’s total came on senior Tray Matthews’ final catch of the night less than six minutes into the game.
“Right from the start we had a busted coverage and things kinda snowballed from there,” said Newnan head coach Mike McDonald, whose team travels to play Troup at Callaway Stadium next Friday. “They’re a really good football team and we knew that coming in. Now we’ve got to see how we can learn from this and move on.”
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Unlike victories over Marietta and LaGrange to open the season, there was no comeback on Friday for the Cougars. Early on, however, Newnan managed to keep itself in the game much like its first two victories of the year by holding Sandy Creek’s offense to a field goal and then taking a 7-3 lead on Darrell Morrow’s 14-yard fumble recovery for the Cougars only score of the night.
Newnan then dodged another bullet when Sandy Creek fullback Antonio Williams coughed up the ball at the Cougar 3-yard line. The next snap, however, Newnan’s offense fumbled it right back, allowing Williams to make good with his next carry for the second of his three touchdown runs.
Garvin, meanwhile, went 11 of 17 for 249 yards and two touchdowns while taking advantage of his team’s deep receiving corps. A massive offensive front led by South Carolina commitment Alan Knott didn’t allow a sack while giving their teammate ample time to find a target.
The Sandy Creek junior connected with at least six Patriots receivers while adding 52 and 35-yard throws on first downs that set up two more scores in between halftime while taking a commanding 31-7 lead into the break. The latter deep ball to Zerric Willis capped off the scoring in the third quarter and came after Newnan lost the second of its three fumbles.
Along with sophomore quarterback Bailey Bryant’s first career interception, the Cougars turned the ball over four times and paid for it among 21 Sandy Creek points in a game that ended with a running clock.
Bryant’s batted pass late in the first quarter found its way into the arms of a Sandy Creek defender. The Patriots next snap had Garvin connecting a 52-yard bomb to Willis in stride to set up Williams’ first score and a 17-7 lead after one quarter.
After the massive Patriots fullback atoned for his goalline fumble to push the lead further 24-7, he capped off a nine-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge with 2:18 left in the half as Sandy Creek converted on 4 of its 6 third downs before halftime.
Newnan’s offense was hit for a loss on at least 10 plays and netted just one yard on two snaps taken by Matthews in the Cougars’ Wildcat formation. Quinton Dix tried to carry the team on the ground, finishing with 58 yards 14 carries while leading a 10-play drive to open the third quarter. It ended when senior Tyler Mulvenna pushed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide for his first miss in three games.
Sandy Creek 17 14 7 0 — 38
Newnan 7 0 0 0 — 7
SC — Mitchell McMillan 32-yard field goal, 9:57
N — Darrell Morrow 14-yard fumble recovery (Tyler Mulvenna kick), 5:38
SC — Chancellor Triplett 16-yard pass from Cole Garvin (McMillan kick), 4:16
SC – Antonio Williams 1 run (McMillan kick), 1:24
SC — Antonio Williams 3 run (McMillan kick), 7:18
SC — Antonio Williams 2 run (McMillan kick), 2:18
SC — Zerric Willis 35-yard pass from Cole Garvin (McMillan kick), 5:54