Allatoona stayed close with second-ranked Kell early in their Class AAAAA playoff game despite several big mistakes. When the Buccaneers’ problems continued in the second half, Kell took control.
The Longhorns (11-0) pulled away with three touchdowns in the game’s final 14 minutes and beat Allatoona 31-17 to advance to the second round for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in the program’s 11-year history. The Longhorns, who were 1-3 in their previous second-round appearances, will be at home next week against Mays. Allatoona was 7-1 after eight games but lost its final three and finished 7-4.
Allatoona lost three fumbles, threw an interception, had a field goal blocked and had two touchdowns called back because of penalties.
The Buccaneers outgained Kell 155-36 in total offense in the first half, but the game was tied 10-10 at halftime.
Allatoona opened the second half with a 13-play, 54-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. But the Buccaneers’ 31-yard field goal attempt was blocked, and the momentum swung in Kell’s favor.
The Longhorns responded with a 10-play drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Rosendahl to Taylor Henkle for a 17-10 lead with two minutes to play in the third quarter.
Kell pulled away from there. Allatoona fumbled on its next possession, and Kell’s Dyllen Reed ran 63 yards for a touchdown on the next play to give the Longhorns a comfortable 24-10 lead. The Longhorns scored their final touchdown on their next possession on a 3-yard run by Jay Moxey, who ran for 100 yards on 21 carries.
Rosendahl was making his third start in place of Matthew McGuigan, who has been out with an ankle injury. He was 9-of-16 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to get to play,” Rosendahl said. “I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. My teammates really believe in me, even when we struggled a little bit in the first half. I just got my head in the game. I was really out of it in the first half. Moxey screamed at me at halftime, and that really got my head in the game.”
Allatoona’s Joshua Bettistea rushed for 139 yards on 28 carries, and Russell Halimon had 89 yards on 19 carries.
Allatoona – 10-0-0-7 – 17
Kell – 0-10-7-14 – 31
K – Cameron Massung 20 field goal
K – Julian Burris 24 pass from Cameron Rosendahl (Massung kick)
A – Russell Halimon 4 run (Arty Wollschlager kick)
A – Wollschlager 22 field goal
K – Taylor Henkle 19 pass from Rosendahl (Massung kick)
K – Dyllen Reed 63 run (Massung kick)
K – Jay Moxey 3 run (Massung kick)
A – Halimon 3 run (Wollschlager kick)