Landmark Christian quarterback Stockton McGuire’s score with 36 seconds to play preserved a 17-14 homecoming win for the War Eagles over Pace Academy Friday night in Fairburn.
McGuire plunged into the end zone behind center Michael Johnson to cap a nine-play drive after taking possession with 5:19 to play. An 18-yard run by fullback William Higbie set the War Eagles up for 1st-and-goal at the 7, and McGuire scored on third down.
Higbie sacked Pace quarterback Kevin Johnson on the game’s final play to seal the win for the fourth-ranked War Eagles, who moved to 8-0 overall and remained atop Region 5-A with top-ranked Eagles Landing Christian.
“We felt like we just had to be physical with them and not hit the panic button,” Landmark Christian head coach Wayne Brantley said. “We were fortunate that the drive took all the time off the clock.”
On the game’s opening drive Landmark moved inside the Pace 10 before McGuire hit a 21-yard field goal. The kick ended an 18-play War Eagles drive that spanned the game’s first nine minutes.
After Pace running back Malik Staples lost a fumble at the 50 on the Knights’ first possession, the Knights’ defense forced a turnover on downs. Two plays after the turnover, Pace junior quarterback Kevin Johnson found receiver Kameron Uter for an 81-yard touchdown pass to put the Knights up 7-3 early in the second quarter.
Uter, a 6-4, 200-pound senior, leaped over a defender at the 45 and scored down the left sideline.
With seconds to play before halftime, Johnson missed a bad snap on 4th-and goal from the Landmark 1 and failed to recover the ball at the 30. Sophomore defensive back Joshua Cobb picked up the ball and scored untouched to put Landmark ahead 10-7.
“We made two critical mistakes and they scored on them,” Pace Academy head coach Chris Slade said. “That turned out to be the difference.”
Pace (4-3 overall, 1-2 in Region 5-A) retook the lead early in the third quarter when Johnson hit Uter for his second touchdown pass from five yards away. Johnson finished the game 13-for-25 passing for 232 yards. Pace has lost three of four games after starting 3-0.
Pace Academy 0 7 7 0 14
Landmark 3 7 0 7 17
L – Stockton McGuire 22 FG
P – Kevin Johnson 81 pass to Kameron Uter (Justin Rayman kick)
L – Joshua Cobb 70 fum ret (McGuire kick)
P – Johnson 5 pass to Uter (Rayman kick)
L – McGuire 2 run (McGuire kick)