Middle School Football: Madras, Evans capture top playoff seeds in CCMSAL
From STAFF REPORTS
The six football teams that make up Coweta County Middle School Athletic League shouldn’t have to find any added motivation for the start of postseason play this week.
After another week of wild finishes that left six schools separated in the standings by just two victories, the 2012 season has maintained a playoff-like atmosphere through the last five weeks.
The final week of the regular season provided plenty of drama to carry over to Wednesday’s first-round games. Regular season champion Madras used a second-half comeback to hold off East Coweta Middle 26-12 on the road and second-seeded Evans needed overtime to lock up the CCMSAL’s other first-round bye with a wild 20-14 win at home.
Defending CCMSAL champion Smokey Road, meanwhile, showed it wasn’t ready to lie down by knocking off Arnall 26-22 on the road, one week after the Knights celebrated an upset win over first-place Madras.
If the regular season established anything toward a trend for the playoffs it’s that anything seems possible.
The Madras Eagles, led by coach Roy Hitchcock, were able to right themselves in time to clinch the No. 1 seed in the postseason with a 4-1 record. But it took 20 unanswered points in the second half at East Coweta’s McKnight Field to secure first place with a 26-12 win over the host Indians.
Madras finished a game ahead of second-place Evans and two ahead of the remaining four CCMSAL teams, all of which finished with identical 2-3 records. The remainder of seeding was decided by tiebreakers.
Ton Evans scored three times in the win and helped ignite the comeback with a pair of long touchdown runs after being sprung by the Eagles offensive line in the second half. Quarterback Terrance Carter also connected on a 25-yard scoring pass to Dexter Hill to help Madras pull away in the final two quarters.
East Coweta (2-3), which will enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, took a 12-6 lead into halftime following Logan Dockery’s six-yard touchdown. The Indians took a 6-0 lead after the first quarter after opening the scoring on Jeremiah Gemmel’s 45-yards scamper. Madras answered in the second period, tying the game on Evans’ first touchdown run of 35 yards.
Evans tied the game at 12 with a 44-yard score in the third quarter and capped off the Eagles’ victory on a final 62-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter after Carter’s TD throw to Hill put Madras ahead 20-12 for its first lead of the game.
Marquez Mitchell and Turner Hughes led the Eagles’ defense with 13 and 7 tackles, respectively.
Madras now awaits Wednesday’s winner between No. 5 seed Arnall (2-3) and No. 4 Lee (2-3) following a bye week.
Evans, led by coach Mark Davis, was able to hold off Lee with Dre Parks’ game-winning 15-yard touchdown that completed a thrilling 20-14 overtime victory to secure the other first-round bye and second place in the CCMSAL standings.
The 3-2 Cougars jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half on a pair of touchdown catches from Eric Russell. Russell hauled in a throw from Kadarius Satterwhite for a 47-yard touchdown throw on a halfback option.
Russell then caught a 7-yard touchdown pass in the second period from quarterback Zavian Cooley-Smith, with an ensuing two-point conversion toss from Cooley-Smtih to Geoffrey Hart pushing Evans out to a 14-point advantage.
Lee, however, chipped away at the lead before tying the game in the fourth quarter on Christian Reid’s 46-yard fumble recovery off a hit by teammate Jacob Merriman.
Down 14-6 at halftime after an 11-yard run by Timberwolves running back Andrico Ingram, Lee’s defense held Evans scoreless until the overtime period.
Carlos Ford’s clutch two-point run following Reid’s fumble recovery helped send the game to the extra period.
(To view the Evans-Lee Photo Gallery, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports / Football.)
Unable to improve its final seeding through tiebreakers, Smokey Road (2-3) managed to take a share of momentum into next week’s playoffs. The No. 6 seeded Wildcats (2-3) overcame an early eight-point deficit to hold off Arnall 26-22 last week on the road while led by quarterback Jacob Bryant.
Bryant ran for two scores and added a 52-yard touchdown pass to Kentez Henderson in the second quarter that eventually tied the score at 8-8 following Bryant’s ensuing two-point run.
A 6-yard touchdown by the Smokey Road quarterback helped give the Wildcats a 14-8 lead at halftime.
Arnall, coming off its big win over Madras, stormed back on Milan Grice’s second touchdown of the game. The Knights standout running back, who scored the game-winner in overtime against the Eagles a week early, broke free for a 51-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
But Keonte Henderson’s 21-yard touchdown run in the third quarter put the Wildcats ahead for good before Bryant added an insurance score in the fourth quarter from five yards out.
LAST WEEK'S SCORING SUMMARIES
Smokey Road Wildcats 26, Arnall Knights 22
Smokey Road 8 6 6 6 — 26
Arnall 8 0 6 8 — 22
A — Milan Grice 5-yard run (Grice run)
SR — Kentrez Henderson 52-yard pass from Jacob Bryant (Bryant run()
SR — Bryant 6 run (run failed)
A — Grice 51 run (run failed)
SR — Keonte Henderson 21 run (run failed)
SR — Bryant 5 run (run failed)
A — Devonte Brown 74 yard kickoff return (Will LaGuardia run)
Madras Eagles 26, East Coweta Indians 12
Madras 0 6 12 8 — 26
East Coweta 6 6 0 0 — 12
EC — Jeremiah Gemmel 45 run (run failed)
M — Ton Evans 35 run (run failed)
EC — Logan Dockery 6 run (run failed)
M — Evans 44 run (pass failed)
M — Dexter Hill 25-yard pass from Terrence Carter (run failed)
M — Evans 62 run (Carter run)
Evans Cougars 20, Lee Timberwolves 14, Overtime
Lee 0 6 0 8 0 — 14
Evans 6 8 0 0 6 — 20
E — Eric Russell 47-yard pass from Kadarius Satterwhite (run failed)
E — Russell 7-yard pass from Zavian Cooley-Smith (Geoffrey Hart pass from Cooley-Smith)
L – Andrico Ingram 11 run (run failed)
L — Christian Reid 46-yard fumble recovery (Carlos Ford run)
E — Dre Parks 15 run
FINAL CCMSAL STANDINGS
East Coweta 2-3
Smokey Road 2-3
This week's First-round CCMSAL Playoffs
Wednesday’s Games, 5:30 p.m.
No. 5 Arnall (2-3) vs. No. 4 Lee (2-3) at ECHS
No. 3 Smokey Road (2-3) vs. No. 3 East Coweta at ECMS