By S. Thomas Coleman
For The AJC
In a game befitting two of the best programs in the state, Marist outlasted Carrollton, 43-37, in five overtimes to advance to the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Senior quarterback Myles Willis sprinted in from 15 yards out on the first play of the fifth overtime, and then the War Eagle defense kept Carrollton out of the end zone to preserve the win.
The trip to the third round will be the first for the War Eagles (11-1) since 2008, when they went all the way to the state finals before bowing out to Tucker, 15-3. Carrollton (8-4) was denied its fifth trip to the quarterfinals in the last seven seasons.
The contest was an even battle throughout, with each team converting key first downs to keep drives going, but also coming up with stops to prevent scores as well.
With the game tied at 13 late in the fourth quarter, Carrollton came up with what at the time was the stop of the game when the Trojans forced Marist to punt from the War Eagles’ 33 yard line. Marist’s punter had the kick go off the side of his foot and Carrollton took over at midfield with 28 seconds left in regulation.
Two passes from Carrollton junior quarterback Wil Garrett to junior receiver Andrew Turner, moved the Trojans into field goal range for standout junior kicker Tyler Newsome, who was already a perfect 2-for-2 on the night, after hitting from 40 and 25 yards out.
But Marist senior Gray King darted in from the near corner and blocked Newsome’s 42-yard attempt to send the game into over time.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first session. Gray King scored on a toss sweep on the first play of Marist’s first possession. Carrollton countered with a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Trey Chivers, on fourth-and-goal. Chivers was initially stopped behind the line of scrimmage but wiggled and battled his way into the end zone.
In the second overtime, Newsome drilled a 25-yard field goal, that was matched by a 27-yarder by Marist’s Thomas Andrews on the War Eagle’s possession, to make the score 23-23 heading into the third overtime.
Willis scored from 2-yards out to give Marist the lead, and with the teams having to go for two on touchdowns scored after the first overtime, Gray King darted in to make the score 31-23. But the Trojans answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Chivers and a pass from Garrett to Chip Murrah, to knot the score again at 31.
Both teams scored touchdowns again in overtime period No. 4, Garrett on a 1-yard run for Carrollton and Gray King on a 2-yard run for Marist. But both defenses held on the two-point conversion tries, forcing a fifth overtime.
For the second time in overtime, Willis scored on the first play on an option keeper to put Marist ahead 43-37, in the fifth overtime period. Then on Carrollton’s possession, the Marist defense forced the Trojans into their first four-and-out of the game at precisely the right time, as Garrett’s roll out pass on fourth-and-five fell incomplete in the endzone.
Marist 7 6 0 0 7 3 8 6 6 43
Carrollton 0 10 3 0 7 3 8 6 0 37
M – Myles Willis 9 run (Thomas Andrews kick good)
C – Tyler Newsome 40 fg
C – Wil Garrett 1 run (Newsome kick)
M – Gray King 1 run (kick failed)
C – Newsome 25 fg
M – King 15 run
C – Trey Chivers 1 run (Newsome kick)
C – Newsome 25 fg
M – Andrews 27 fg
M – Griffin King 2 run (Gray King run)
C – Chivers 2 run (Chip Murrah pass from Garrett)
C – Garrett 1 run (pass failed)
M – Gray King 2 run (pass failed)