Marist ended the most successful season in Stockbridge school history and outlasted the host Tigers 15-7 in a Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday night.
A last-minute drive Stockbridge drive ended 25 yards short of the goal line and Marist (12-1) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2008. Stockbridge moved from its own 25-yard line into War Eagles territory, when Maetron Thomas was ruled down inbounds with 17 seconds left to play. A disorganized Tigers offense completed one last-ditch pass before time expired.
With the win, Marist (12-1) stopped an 11-game Stockbridge win streak and extended its own winning streak to 11. Stockbridge (11-2), in the school’s first-ever quarterfinal game, had given up only 10 points per game on defense since a 23-0 loss to M.L. King in the season opener.
The Tigers’ offense dug its own holes throughout, committing several procedure penalties and 16 violations overall.
“If it means anything to you, it should hurt,” Stockbridge head coach Kevin Whitley told his heartbroken players in the post-game huddle.
Gray King scored on a 15-yard run with 4:06 to play in the third quarter, putting Marist ahead 10-7. The War Eagles took over at the Stockbridge 36 and moved inside the 10 behind a 23-yard run from quarterback Myles Willis.
After Marist downed a punt inside the Stockbridge 2, the defense picked up two points when it stopped Thomas in his own end zone, putting Marist ahead 12-7 with 9:46 left to play. Marist added a 19-yard field goal from Fletcher Malloy with 4:32 to go.
“We were able to get some push up front in the second half, and that made the difference,” Marist coach Alan Chadwick said. “Our kids got more comfortable as the game went on.”
Marist converted a Stockbridge turnover for the game’s first score, a 24-yard field goal from Thomas Andrews. Malik Bryan fumbled an exchange from quarterback Trent Earl at the 31, where Nick Carrier recovered. The War Eagles moved the ball inside the 10 before the Tigers forced fourth down.
Stockbridge recovered a muffed punt by Griffin King at the Marist 30 with less than a minute to play before halftime. The Tigers scored five plays later when quarterback Trent Earl ran in from four yards out for a 7-3 halftime lead.
M – 3 – 0 – 7 – 5 – 15
S – 0 – 7 – 0 – 0 – 7
M – Thomas Andrews 24 FG
S – Trent Earl 4 run (Corey Hall kick)
M – Gray King 15 run (Andrews kick)
M – Safety
M – Fletcher Malloy 19 FG