By David Purdum / For the AJC
Jordan Collier returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown and broke up a potential go-ahead two-point conversion with 27 seconds left, helping No. 4 Lovejoy escape with a 24-23 win at Alpharetta.
The Wildcats (2-1) forced eight turnovers, including two interceptions from Collier, to bounce back from last week’s loss to Colquitt County.
All five Alpharetta fumbles occurred in Lovejoy territory, with two of Vito Priorie’s three interceptions coming at the goal line. Priore, making his first varsity start, threw for 429 yards, but his last pass on the two-point conversion fell incomplete, ending a wild game.
Elijah Burnette scored two short touchdown runs in the second half, including a 1-yard plunge with 27 seconds to play. The Raiders converted two fourth downs on the drive, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Alpharetta (1-2) jumped out to a 7-3 lead on a 22-yard pass from Priorie to Lem Cobbs and was threatening at the Lovejoy 6. But Collier jumped in front of a Priorie pass at the goal line and raced 100 yards to give the Wildcats their first lead.
Lovejoy extended its lead to 24-7 on Jeremiah Kirkland 1-yard touchdown run and a 9-yard touchdown pass from Quintarius Neely to Brandon Knight and seemed to be in control, leading 24-10 at halftime. But the Wildcats wouldn’t score again.
Alpharetta got back in the game on its first possession of the second half. Priorie’s 54-yard pass to Andre Harton set up a Burnette 1-yard touchdown run, cutting the Lovejoy lead to 24-17 early in the third quarter.
The Raiders drove inside the Lovejoy 10 three more times, but two of the drives ended with turnovers.
Priore completed 27 of 50 attempts with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Lovejoy quarterback Quintarius Neely completed 11 of 24 passes for 172 yards.
Lovejoy 17 7 0 0 — 24
Alpharetta 7 3 7 6 — 23
A – Lem Cobbs 29 pass from Vito Priore (Thomas Waller kick)
L – Jamie Nunez 33 field goal
L – Jamie Collier 100 interception return (Nunez kick)
L – Jeremiah Kirkland 1 run (Nunez kick)
L – Brandon Knight 9 pass from Quintarius Neely (Nunez kick)
A – Waller 29 field goal
A – Elijah Burnette 1 run (Waller kick)
A – Burnette 1 run (pass failed)