Sandy Creek 55, Newnan 28

Patriots provide too much firepower

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Newnan receiver Rendall Arnold tries to keep his feet after bouncing off a Sandy Creek defender as Patriot safety Josh Greene moves in on the play. Arnold, who had 10 catches coming into Friday's game, made his share of plays, but it wasn't enough against a talented Sandy Creek team that has earned national rankings this season.

Sandy Creek isn't ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA and nationally ranked for nothing.

Newnan had its hands full in a 55-28 loss to the Patriots at the Battlefield in Tyrone, surrending touchdowns on five of Sandy Creek's six first-half drives.

'They are a good football team,' Cougars' head coach Mike McDonald said. 'I thought we did some good things offensively. We moved the ball, especially in the first half. Offensively they are really, really good. We've got to get off blocks and make plays, and we weren't able to do that.'

The Cougars held their own in the early going. While their defense was having its trouble stopping the Patriots from scoring, the Newnan offense was able to put up points of its own to keep things entertaining.

Sandy Creek opened the game with a drive that lasted 6:19 and 11 plays, carrying the ball for 42 yards, with Junior Eric Swinney accounting for the final one on a 1-yard touchdown.

Swinney had eight carries for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns just in the first half before add­ing a final touchdown after halftime to close out the scoring.

Sandy Creek upped its lead to 14-0 after a 40-yard scoring strike from Sandy Creek quarterback Cole Garvin, who again gave Newnan defenders headaches. A year after throwing for a score on the opening play of the game at Drake Stadium, the senior went 17 of 20 for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

Garvin found star receiver Demarre Kitt on the first and suddenly the Cougars were playing catch up.

Still, Newnan's offense found another gear as well. In just two plays with 21 seconds left in the first quarter senior Dee Snelling took a pitch from quarterback Bailey Bryant and ran 73 yards for the touchdown to make it 14-7. Bailey finished the first half 8 of 18 passing for 142 yards.

The Patriots, however, answered right back on the very next drive. Once again, taking to the ground to do some damage, Swinney once broke a 28-yard run to cap off a 5-play drive that started at their own 17.

Once again, Newnan pulled within a single score and again, they struck with just a 2-play drive. Bryant completed a 13-yard pass to Immanuel Griggs to the 41. From there, J.K. Britt broke off a 59-yard run up the middle to make the score 21-14. Britt finished with 11 carries for 76 yards and the one touchdown.

McDonald said he was impressed with the way his offense played and was able to break off big plays.

'There were some things we can build on,' he said. 'Hopefully we will come back on Monday with some things to work on and keep on improving.'

While tough to stop, Sandy Creek's defense may have made the play of the game after pinning Newnan back inside its own 15 yard-line. Dropping back to pass, Bryant has a throw batted and intercepted by charging Patriots defensive end Trent Sellers, who waltzed into the end zone to make it 35-14 with 4:53 still left in a marathon first half.

Sandy Creek pushed it further to 42-14 before the Cougars were able to get on the board again with a quick strike. A four-play drive with under two minutes included a pair of runs from J.K. Britt before Bryant hit 6-foot-8 Immanuel Griggs high in stride for a 50-yard catch and run to the end zone.

The Patriots added a pair of offensive scores late in the second half, as many of their backups came into the game. Newnan closed out its scoring on a nifty 93-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior sprinter Terence Geter, who showcased his speed running untouched into the end zone.

'They are as good as anyone we will play,' McDonald said. 'This can only benefit us down the road.

The Couga rs look to rebound when they return home to play Troup, which lost to Callaway on Friday.

'They've got a pretty good football team,' McDonald said. ' We will have our hands full with them.'



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