By Michael Alpert
For the AJC
The Brookwood and South Gwinnett football teams entered Friday night’s Region 8-AAAAAA showdown already qualified for the state playoffs with Parkview and Grayson.
Question was, which would be eliminated from contention for the region championship with a second region loss.
And ironically, on a night where passing dazzled, Nicholas Hylton’s interception with 46 seconds helped South survive 42-38 and remain alive for a shot at the title.
“Next week is only important if you take care of this week,” South coach John Small said of next week’s regular-season finale against Parkview. “You want to be at the party at the end. A region championship is what you want to be playing for.”
Jordan Ramey led South with 382 yards and four touchdowns passing, out-dueling Brookwood’s Zach Moon, who passed for 264 and four scores, too.
Ramey’s arm kept the Comets within striking distance of just their fifth win in 29 tries against Brookwood, but ultimately, his feet led them there with a 2-yard TD run with 3:13 remaining. The run and his 40-yard touchdown pass to Coray Keel four minutes earlier brought the Comets back from 10 points down.
Brookwood drove to South’s 33-yard line with less than two minutes left, but a sack by South’s Reginald Carter and Hylton’s interception squelched the 2010 state champion Broncos’ bid for a second region championship in three seasons.
The region title won’t be settled until next week, with South, Parkview and Grayson (which plays Brookwood) all having a shot to be champion in scenarios too tricky to explain.
“It’s coincidental we’re all playing each other (with such dramatic consequence) so late in the season,” Brookwood coach Mark Crews said.
The Comets (7-2, 6-1) twice went up by two touchdowns early, but couldn’t stop the Broncos (6-3, 5-2) from scoring on four consecutive possessions and leading 31-21 after a wild first half. Bernard Morrison’s 29-yard touchdown catch and 3-yard scoring run put South ahead 14-0 in barely more than eight minutes, but Brookwood outscored the Comets 31-7 over the next 16, thanks to Moon’s three TD passes to Ky Priester and Brandon Morrow’s 34-yard field goal with 2:02 left in the half.
Both teams had passing games working from the outset, as Ramey passed for 277 yards and two TDs by halftime and Moon 160 and his three tosses to Priester.
SOUTH GWINNETT 42, BROOKWOOD 38
South Gwinnett: 14 7 7 14 – 42
Brookwood: 7 24 0 7 – 38
SG — Bernard Morrison 29 pass from Jordan Ramey (Mattias Jonas kick)
SG — Morrison 3 run (Jonas kick)
B — Ky Priester 38 pass from Zach Moon (Brandon Morrow kick)
SG — L.J. Gainey 44 pass from Ramey (Jonas kick)
B — Priester 7 pass from Moon (Morrow kick)
B — Josh Brown 44 run (Morrow kick)
B — Priester 64 pass from Moon (Morrow kick)
B — Morrow 34 FG
SG — Morrison 18 pass from Ramey (Jonas kick)
B — Priester 15 pass from Moon (Morrow kick)
SG — Coray Keel 40 pass from Ramey (Jonas kick)
SG — Ramey 2 run (Jonas kick)