By Alex Ewalt
With the final playoff spot in Region 4-AAAAAA on the line, Marietta overcame an early deficit to defeat Harrison 31-27. The victory put Marietta (8-2, 5-2) in the postseason for the third year in a row under head coach Scott Burton. Harrison (5-5, 4-3) finished one game out of the playoffs.
Marietta fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, but scored three touchdowns in quick succession to take a 21-14 lead at the half. Junior running back KirVonte’ Benson started the visiting Blue Devils’ scoring with a 45-yard run after picking up a fumble by his own quarterback, Brenton Martin, with 5:39 left in the half. Not quite three minutes later, Benson returned a punt 68 yards for a score. Then in the closing seconds of the half, safety T.J. Bulock took an interception back 65 yards.
The Blue Devils held a 31-21 lead in the fourth quarter after a 30-yard Ian Shannon field goal and a 45-yard touchdown pass from Martin to Marcus Bennett. Harrison scored to make it a 31-27 game, but the extra-point attempt failed because of a bad snap. The Marietta defense was able to turn Harrison over on downs with under a minute to play to hold on for the win.
Marietta will travel to No. 1 seed Lovejoy next Friday in the first round of the playoffs.