Two early special teams scores held up as Eagle’s Landing Christian advanced to the Class A private-school finals with a 27-14 victory against visiting George Walton Academy Friday night at Commitment Field in McDonough.
Defensive back Jevious Terry was responsible for both scores, first returning the opening kickoff 90 yards to put ELCA ahead just seconds into the game. He took in the kickoff along the left sideline and reversed field before being escorted up the right sideline into the end zone.
Later in the first quarter, Terry blocked a field-goal attempt at the 20, then recovered it and sprinted 80 yards for a score, giving ELCA a 13-0 lead. After an interception return by D.J. Curl to George Walton 17, the Chargers went ahead 20-0 behind a 5-yard run from Lane Timpson.
“That’s something we work on all the time,” ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess said. “We spend a whole lot of time on it, and it was the difference.”
George Walton closed the gap in the second quarter with a 64-yard scoring drive that included a fourth-down conversion from punter Nick Waters. He gained 12 yards on 4th-and-11, and five plays later quarterback Hunter Rice converted a second fourth down when he found tight end Geno Bailey for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Demetrios Mason intercepted ELCA quarterback Dalton Etheridge on the ensuing possession, and Rice ended a five-play, 38-yard drive with a quarterback sneak. Georgia commitment Stanley Williams (135 yards on 24 carries) broke free for a 32-yard run during the drive, and Rice scored on second-and-goal.
ELCA took a 27-14 lead in the third quarter when Dalton Etheridge scored on a 4-yard run, completing a 71-yard drive. Keyante Green, a Purdue commitment battling a sprained ankle, added a 37-yard run during the drive to set up the score. Green finished with 78 rushing yards on 12 carries after a single touch in the first half.
“Keyonte came up to me and said give me the ball,” Gess said. “And he took over in the second half.”
The Chargers (12-1) won their 12th consecutive game and will attempt to bring home the first Georgia High School Association title to Henry County next Friday. ELCA won titles previously as a member of the Georgia Independent School Association. George Walton finished the season 9-4.
GWA – 0 – 14 – 0 – 0 – 14
ELCA – 20 – 0 – 7 – 0 – 27
ELCA – Jevious Terry 90 kick ret (kick failed)
ELCA – Terry 80 FG blk ret (Cole Dellinger kick)
ELCA – Casey Shubert 5 run (Dellinger kick)
GWA – Hunter Rice 21 pass to Geno Bailey (Cole Fisher kick)
GWA – Rice 1 run (Fisher kick)
ELCA – Dalton Etheridge 4 run (Dellinger kick)