Stockbridge had everything going its way early in the second quarter, holding a 14-8 lead and having watched as Griffin coach Steve DeVoursney was ejected in a flag-riddled sequence late in the first period.
But then Griffin went 90 yards for one score, converted a Stockbridge turnover into another and seized control on the way to a 35-14 win.
Griffin quarterback Jaquez Parks accounted for 376 total yards, passing for 187 and rushing for 189 more as the Bears, ranked No. 5 in Class AAAA, upended No. 3 Stockbridge in a Region 4-AAAA cross-over game.
Griffin (5-0) avenged a 2012 loss to the Tigers (4-1), who committed four turnovers. The Bears ran 68 plays to Stockbridge’s 26 and outgained the Tigers 463-95.
“We’ve had this game circled since the summer,” said Parks, who scored three rushing touchdowns and passed for another. “We were ready for this game the whole time. I felt like I had to have a big game because they were talking about they had the best defense in the state. I’d seen some things online talking about how they were going to put pressure on me, so I felt like I had to come back and show them what I could really do.”
The Griffin defense held Stockbridge to five first downs, including just two over the last 3 ½ quarters.
“They controlled the game,” said Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley. “We got beat up front on both sides of the ball. I don’t recall us getting any serious pressure on Parks, and I don’t recall our quarterback having time to throw the ball.”
After a 47-yard kickoff return by Kendarius Webster, Stockbridge scored first, using nine plays to move 35 yards and scoring on Malik Bryan’s 5-yard run on fourth down.
Griffin responded with an eight-play, 77-yard drive, capped by Parks’ 19-yard pass to Jordan Colbert. Parks passed to Christian Owens for the two-point conversion and an 8-7 lead.
Webster returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards for a touchdown, putting the Tigers on top 14-8.
Then came the bizarre sequence that led to DeVoursney’s ouster. Parks attempted a pass to the goal line and Griffin was penalized of offensive pass interference. The Griffin bench was flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct and the veteran head coach was ejected.
“It could have went haywire,” said Griffin assistant Antonio Andrews, who took charge after DeVoursney was ejected. “I’ve been here nine years. It could have fallen apart when things got bad, but our seniors kept things together.”
The series of events left Griffin with a first down and 55 yards to go. A sack and two incomplete passes left the Bears at fourth and 65 before punting.
After forcing a punt, Griffin regained the lead with a six-play, 90-yard drive, scoring on Parks’ 4-yard run.
An 8-yard run by Devonte Freeman gave Griffin a 22-14 lead, which the Bears carried to halftime.
The Bears went 75 yards in 13 plays to open the second half and Parks’ 21-yard run put them up 28-14.
Parks sealed the win with a 76-yard run on the first play of the fourth period.
Griffin 8 14 6 7 – 35
Stockbridge 14 0 0 0 – 14
S – Malik Bryan 5 run (Richard Pinedo kick)
G – Jordan Colbert 19 pass from Jaquez Parks (Christian Owens pass from Parks)
S – Kendarius Webster 69 kickoff return (Pinedo kick)
G – Parks 4 run (Tristen Mathis kick)
G – Devonte Freeman 8 run (Mathis kick)
G – Parks 21 run (run failed)
G – Parks 76 run (Mathis kick)