By Jay Stone
For the AJC
Capitalizing on two first-half Carrollton mistakes in the punting game and getting a stellar defensive effort, Sandy Creek claimed its fifth straight region championship, beating the Trojans 30-7 Friday night at The Battlefield for the 5-AAAA title.
The loss ended Carrollton’s string of region titles at three straight.
Two of the top five teams in Class AAAA, No. 1 Sandy Creek and No. 4 Carrollton went into the game putting up big offensive numbers; Carrollton was averaging 38 points per game, Sandy Creek 45.5.
In a playoff-like atmosphere, Sandy Creek (9-0, 6-0 Region 5-AAAA) got 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Delvin Weems, but it was the defense that shone for the Patriots, who won their 38th straight regular-season game.
It was the most lop-sided defeat for Carrollton since a 49-7 loss to LaGrange in 2002 for the Trojans (6-3, 5-1) according to records on http://www.ghsfha.com. Sandy Creek held the Trojans to 107 total yards and Carrollton running back Trey Chivers, who came in with nearly 1,000 yards combined rushing and receiving yards, was held to 40 rushing yards on 11 carries and no receptions.
The start was anything but ideal for Sandy Creek.
After one play in the second quarter, the Patriots had two points and three total yards.
From punt formation on the first play of the second quarter, the snap sailed over the head of Carrollton punter Cristian Remeriz, who kicked the ball out of the end zone , giving the Patriots a safety.
The Patriots didn’t get their initial first down until the 7:20 mark in the second quarter. Once they did, though, it sparked the game’s first touchdown drive. Sandy Creek moved 81 yards in 10 plays, the big on a 45-yard pass from Cole Garvin to Demarre Kitt. Eric Swinney scored on a 2-yard run to give Sandy Creek a 9-0 lead.
The Patriots took advantage of another mistake by the Carrollton punting team for its next score. Remeriz handled another high snap but was tackled for a 9-yard loss to the Trojan 8.
The next play, Garvin scrambled for the touchdown and a 16-0 cushion.
Weems scored his touchdown on a 2-yard run on the opening series of the second half to make it 23-0, and he added a 75-yarder later in the third period to turn the game into a rout.
Malik Sheppard’s 53-yard punt return accounted for Carrollton’s only score.