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Grovetown wins first-round football contest

Posted: November 15, 2017 - 2:34am
Grovetown’s D’Angelo Durham finds some running room during football action against Lovejoy at Grovetown High School in Grovetown Ga., Friday evening November 3, 2017. MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF

The Grovetown football team is practicing again this week, thanks to a second-half comeback and a late defensive stand.

The Warriors outpaced a star-studded Lovejoy offense and came up with a game-ending stop in the final seconds.

Grovetown defeated the Wildcats, 35-27, on Friday night in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.

After making school history with its first home playoff game, Grovetown (7-4) made further program history with its first postseason victory. The team ran onto the field in celebration as time expired.

Now, the Warriors travel to play at No. 3 Lee County at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second round. The Trojans escaped the opening round with a 29-21 victory over Richmond Hill, a team that knocked off Grovetown, 37-7, early in the season.

Against Lovejoy, D'Angelo Durham rushed 22 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns to lead a Grovetown offense that produced 337 rushing yards and outpaced Lovejoy's star running back Zion Custis, who totaled 159 yards in the final game of his memorable high school career.

Jahmar Bingham added 99 rushing yards and 114 through the air for the Warriors, who travel to No. 1 seed Lee County in the second round next Friday.

Down late in the third quarter, Bingham broke a 33-yard touchdown run for a 28-27 lead with 4 minutes left, Grovetown's first lead in the game. The Warriors got breathing room on a 42-yard run by Shamar Cofield for a 35-27 lead with 1:26 left in the game.

Lovejoy drove downfield in the closing minute and reached Grovetown's 3 with seven seconds left. With no timeouts, Custis was stopped at the line of scrimmage to end the game.

Lovejoy quickly marched downfield on the opening possession and scored on a 19-yard pass from Jordan Huntington to Dayton Wade. Grovetown answered with ease on its first possession as Bingham drove the offense downfield with his arms and legs, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Cofield to tie it at 7.

The Wildcats turned to trickery just before the end of the first when Huntington threw a backward pass to receiver Jerrod Means along the sideline, and he tossed a 38-yard pass to Zion Custis in the end zone for a 14-7 lead.

The Warriors were able to respond when Durham ran in from six yards for a tie at 14 at 7:50 in the second.

Just three plays later, Huntington found an open Means down the middle for a 64-yard touchdown pass and 20-14 advantage.

The two sides went to stronger defensive efforts for the rest of the half, capped by an interception at the goal line by Grovetown's Braxton Wharton to preserve the six-point deficit into the half.

 

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