Lovejoy 27, Marietta 23

There was no situation Prestion Williams couldn’t get Lovejoy out of Friday night against Marietta in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs, a 27-23 win for the No. 6-ranked Wildcats at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

Williams hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass on the final play, erasing a 23-21 deficit and sending Lovejoy to the second round.

Williams hauled in seven passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns, one of which he set up with an interception.

“We’ve got a new team this year,” said Williams. “But we’ve worked too hard to get put out in the first round.”

Lovejoy (10-1) ousted Marietta (8-3) for the second straight year.

The Blue Devils led 23-21 after Ian Shannon’s 40-yard field goal with 53 seconds left. It was Shannon’s third field goal of the night and Marietta appeared primed for the upset.

But then Williams went to work, grabbing the kickoff at the 1-yard line and racing out to the 39 before officials said he stepped out of bounds. Four plays later, with five seconds left and Lovejoy on the Marietta 47, he ran down the right sideline, found himself surrounded at the 10 where he leaped and caught Quintarius Neely’s pass, then stepped past several Marietta defenders into the end zone.

A Lovejoy dogpile ensued.

“He’s the best player in the state,” said Lovejoy coach Al Hughes. “We need to find ways to get him the ball as much as we can.

Neely and Williams connected on touchdown passes of 32, 66, 96 and 47 yards. Neely finished with 335 yards passing despite throwing three interceptions.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow when you have such great kids who put themselves in a position to win a game and it just didn’t go our way,” said Marietta coach Scott Burton.

One of Williams’ touchdowns got the Wildcats out of a third-and-long situation, another one got them out of the shadow of their own goal, the final one gave them the win and collectively they got the Wildcat offense off the hook on a three-turnover night in which the running game struggled.

After Lovejoy scored twice in the first seven minutes and one play after the second one, quarterbaack Brenton Martin suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

Jordan Mathis came on in relieve and led the Blue Devils to a 20-point second quarter, and his 34-yard pass to tight end Marcus Bennett on fourth down near midfield set up Shannon’s go-ahead field goal in the final minute.

Marietta’s KirVonte’ Benson finished with 109 yards on 27 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Marietta 0 20 0 3 – 23

Lovejoy 14 0 7 6 – 27

L – Preston Williams 32 pass from Quntarius Neely (Jaime Nunez kick)

L – Williams 66 pass from Neely (Nunez kick)

M – Marcus Bennett 19 pass from Jordan Mathis (Ian Shannon kick)

M – KirVonte’ Benson 16 run (Shannon kick)

M – Shannon 40 field goal

M – Shannon 27 field goal

L – Williams 96 pass from Neely (Nunez kick)

M – Shannon 40 field goal

L – Williams 47 pass from Neely (no try)

59 comments Add your comment

Sportsnut

November 15th, 2013
10:50 pm

Good game Marietta. I was sweating bullets. When Marietta kicked the go ahead field goal, everyone knew it was over. The only problem was that there was 53 seconds left and we have the best wideout in the state. On the last play, with 5.3 seconds left, Neely, who is going to be a great one, let it fly and Preston did what Preston does. All four touchdowns.

The D was suspect as they got caught several times on the screen and had a couple blown assignments. Hats off to Marietta as they came to play and almost got the win. After falling behind early, they played good D and got back into the game but the Cats never gave up.

Good game Cats and don’t forget, We may not be who we were but we are who we are, Lovejoy Wildcats.

LHSAlum33

November 15th, 2013
10:51 pm

This was a CRAZY game! Hats off to Marietta, they came to play and I can’t deny we probably should of lost this game. I’m extremely proud of the way our boys played tonight and played until the clock hit 0:00!! Great win!

High 5

November 15th, 2013
11:11 pm

All I have to say is WOW!!!!!!! Congrats to Lovejoy! Keep your heads up Marietta, you have nothing to be ashamed of!!!!

As it Stands

November 15th, 2013
11:14 pm

I think I speak for everyone when I say you HAD to be there. Neely fires the ball, couldn’t spot a single open receiver. Thought it was Lovejoy’s final curtain call. Then, as if by magic, the ball popped in Williams’ hands, even with a considerable amount of defenders on him, and he gets the score. That was followed by massive celebration by the Wildcat nation. That was probably the most exciting play I’ve ever seen in my years of watching high school football. Remember the name Preston Williams, that kid’s going to be a legend.

GwinnettDad

November 15th, 2013
11:15 pm

@Sportsnut – RobfromNorcross went 16-0. You went 9-7. Region 2-AAAAAA went 1-3 and almost went 0-4. Region 8-AAAAAA went 3-1. Tell me, how does it feel, Sportsnut, to shoot off your mouth as much as you do and be SO COMPLETELY WRONG!

Of course, I don’t expect an apology or an admission. But surprise me!

FridayNightLightsFan

November 15th, 2013
11:23 pm

Not impressive for sure. I’m sure Lowndes is licking their chops about now.

MADDBALL

November 15th, 2013
11:30 pm

@ sportsnut all I can say is WOW!!!! you won on a hail mary,,,,,the last play of the game. at 12 OAKS

Camden74

November 15th, 2013
11:34 pm

Sportsnut! Congrats! You live to harass Rob and GwinnettDad another day!…….LOL

Sportsnut

November 15th, 2013
11:36 pm

@MADDBALL == I thought the Idea was to win. A good team finds ways to win, we did that.
@FNLF == You still want to beat us so badly, you will pull for anyone playing us. Let Lowndes lick their chops. While they are at it, tell them to figure a way to stop that sophomore to junior combo.

Sportsnut

November 15th, 2013
11:38 pm

@MADDBALL == Yes, at 12 Oaks. That makes it about 36-1 since 10′.
Deal with it.

Sportsnut

November 15th, 2013
11:41 pm

@74 == Thanks. It was hard fought but you know good teams find a way to win and we did it. Now we get Lowndes, at home. The last time they came to 12 Oaks, it was 43-3, or something like that.

RobFromNorcross

November 15th, 2013
11:43 pm

Congrats to Lovejoy on finding the end zone way to win the game, That is what it is all about. Now our quarter-bracket gets a little smaller…

Lowndes @ Lovejoy
Brookwood @ Norcross

Two games to set up the quarter-final matchup between the winners. If it is Lovejoy vs Norcross, the site will be determined by a coin flip. But we both have to get through next week first.

Da JOY

November 15th, 2013
11:44 pm

The defense kept the offense in the game after turnovers and giving Marietta good field position.They held them to field goals and prevented them from running away in the 2nd quarter. Defense held one of the top offenses in the state to only 3 points in the 2nd half. I know Preston will receive alot of credit, which he deserves, but the Defense played a MAJOR part in this victory. Good game to Marietta.

Fred

November 15th, 2013
11:47 pm

Funny, when we would win in the last few seconds it was pulling a win out of the air (or somewhere else) and we should have lost but when LJ does, it is LJ doing what it does. Oh well, congratulations to the LJ football team on a hard fought win. Like I have always said, the game is 48 minutes long for a reason.

Old Bear

November 15th, 2013
11:49 pm

Congrats to Lovejoy. What a game. Marietta was a good test, and I said that BEFORE the game was played.

Neither team has anything to be ashamed of. Every game has to have a team that wins and a team that doesn’t, but there isn’t necessarily a loser. This game illustrates that point perfectly.

Sportsnut

November 15th, 2013
11:49 pm

@ DA JOY == You are correct. The D does deserve much credit for their play. I must say that an adjustment by the coaches was the difference as the game progressed. Very good point.

R31768 Pack

November 16th, 2013
12:02 am

Sportsnut, Great win! Last I heard the EMT’s were administering oxygen to you. LOL

R31768 Pack

November 16th, 2013
12:04 am

@Sportsnut, you guys think you can handle Lowndes next week? Curious to see which team shows up next week.

Sportsnut

November 16th, 2013
12:09 am

@R31768 Pack == You must be referring to Lowndes. I know Lovejoy will show up. Thanks .

No EMT’s, I had enough breath left to make it to the “L” store and now I am enjoying an adult drink.

Marietta fan

November 16th, 2013
12:20 am

What a game! Our stands went from joyous to stunned in 10 seconds. I graduated from Marietta in 2011 and saw this group of seniors come from being 2-8 my senior year to this point. I almost wanted to cry with them, and I haven’t cried since my grandmothers funeral 2 years ago. Jordan Mathis played his heart out after Brenton Martin sprained his shoulder on the 5th play of the game. The receiver that caught the winning pass was the whole Lovejoy offense tonight. I wasn’t impressed by the QB though throwing 3 picks and almost 3 more. One more thing, Lovejoy has one of the best teams in the state, but where are the fans? We had way more people at the game than the home team. Congrats Sportsnut on the win.

JAB

November 16th, 2013
12:33 am

@ GwinnettDAD go sit down somewhere y’all are history, old news Lol.,

LHSAlum33

November 16th, 2013
1:42 am

@Marietta fan That has always been a problem at LJ good team or bad team, we have true fans and we have fans that show up in spurts. After this type of game, I’m sure the stands will be filled next week.

Marietta is a good team, we came out hot got comfortable and they hit us in the mouth. Then we were sitting around like, “Why don’t they lay down?” Next thing we know, we’re down 2 with less than a minute to play. Incomplete pass, Dropped ball and now 3-and-2. We get the first, spike the ball and 5.2 seconds left and everybody grabs the Rosary beads and HAIL MARY!!!! Prayers answered! Had to watch it on CSS Sports since I don’t live in Atlanta anymore but I’ll be home next weekend for sure! Shout out to the N Atlanta teams putting on a show today, I talk bad about them but they played some good football tonight, I was definitely impressed.

I hope we play better next week or the second round curse will come back!

Sportsnut

November 16th, 2013
7:10 am

@Marietta Fan == Maybe you will be impressed with the Qb the next 2 years. Yes, he is a sophomore. I hope you Qb is O.K.

High 5

November 16th, 2013
8:41 am

From what I know about Lowndes Co., they have a powerful running attack and a suspect passing game. They play lights out on defense, especially against those one dimensional teams. Lovejoy will definitely have their hands full but at the same time, the Vikings will be walking into a buzz saw and a newly inspired Wildcat team. It won’t be easy for either team but great teams find ways to win in all aspects of the game! Good luck!

only a matter of time

November 16th, 2013
8:44 am

I’m a Hillgrove parent but I was pulling hard for Marietta last night. I think they are a very good team and I knew they would rep for Region 4 very well and you guys did not disappoint. You have some weapons coming back next year and will be right back in the thick of things. Region 2 took their lumps last night. I don’t think people can be too impressed with seeds 2-4 from that region. Tough test for us this week with CC on the horizon.
Camden74 need some recommendations on some good seafood places in Kingsland.

Trojan2017

November 16th, 2013
9:45 am

Great ending to the game. I want this to prove that LJ is overrated, but it doesn’t because Marietta is legit and battletested coming from region 4. Good win LJ. I have you guys beating Lowndes and falling to Norcoss. The only game I missed in my AAAAAA bracket was Lassiter vs PTR. Go figure….I’m a Trojan Dad.

Marietta fan 2

November 16th, 2013
10:20 am

Yes it was an incredible game. Marietta came in with a great scheme to throw, throw, throw. Then our QB gets knocked out at the very beginning of the game, down 14-0 and we bring in Jordan Mathis, a senior WR (our best) who had never played QB in a varsity game, and last played and practiced QB when he was a senior. Scott Burton proved why he is the best coach in the state (years down the road people will agree with this statement) by having to throw out the entire offensive script with a WR now trying to figure out how to hand the ball off and run with 7 defenders jamming the line. Burton’s fake punt call and his trick play on the final drive on 4th and 2 were more than brilliant. To come back and take the lead 23-21 with 53 seconds was a miracle and hats off to Coach Burton and a resilient group of Blue Devils who just wouldn’t quit. Now let me say the Lovejoy receiver at 6′5″ or whatever and with amazing foot speed is incredible, the real deal. I can’t believe he made that play on the final play, but he made them all night long. Congrats to Lovejoy and for Marietta a difficult loss to swallow.

SouthSide

November 16th, 2013
10:24 am

This was a very good football game tonight, but one thing I saw was Marietta coaches got out coach. How can you let a Wide out catch two TD the first half and not make any adjustments in the second half, no double team until the late 4th qtr, bad coaching, Coaches lost this one for Marietta. IJS.

Marietta fan 2

November 16th, 2013
10:25 am

Sorry I meant to say Jordan Mathis had last played QB when he was a freshman! And by the way Sportsnut, your announcer was absolutely pitiful, announcing the play as if he was a broadcaster during the middle of every play. When Marietta faked the punt, he was yelling in the middle of the play trying to help the defense. I’ve seen ref’s call 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalties on announcers in years past, and they should have flagged your announcer countless times. He is an embarrassment to Lovejoy as he tries to use his microphone to influence the outcome of the game (called “first down” at least three times before the ref’s even determined whether it really was a first down). If Lovejoy wants to be recognized as a class team, they need a new announcer.

SouthSide

November 16th, 2013
10:30 am

For all you so called football fans up north that keeps talking about Norcross football, one word for you my old high school Booker T Washington (4A), I hope that Norcross is not the best thing in your region, they exposed a lot of holes, not so good.

SouthFla

November 16th, 2013
11:38 am

@Marietta fan 2, your QB was on point I saw your 1st string about 3weeks ago and the kid that finish up at QB did a lot better. Everyone keeps talking about there QB got hurt that’s football. I see LoveJoy is playing a 10th grader. Injuries are part of the game. If you want to blame someone blame your coach for letting one player beat them and not making adjustments.

realist1

November 16th, 2013
11:41 am

@mariettafan2..best coach in state?? Really??You only beat 2 teams with winning records this year and one of them was bad 6-5 newnan team that got blown out by 31 last night! Great game last night for sure but be real about things!

Colquitt Fan

November 16th, 2013
12:38 pm

Lol. Lowndes is running into a buzz saw but the buzz saw had to win on a prayer

Jay Stone

November 16th, 2013
3:19 pm

DA JOY, I wouldn’t disagree about the defense, but there are some details I’ll add here that didn’t make the game story because frankly I ran out of time:

Forcing field goals on the last two possessions of the first half, both of which followed turnovers, shouldn’t be discounted. Marietta came in averaging 40 points per game and moved the ball pretty well (they had 337 total yards by my count), but Lovejoy’s defense was just good enough to keep the game close.

On the other hand, Marietta shot itself in the foot on another scoring chance midway through the fourth quarter that was derailed by penalties rather than anything Lovejoy did.

In my mind, though, Williams was THE story in this game. There just really wasn’t any other way to go. The only way Marietta was going to keep him from beating them was to get pressure on Neely and keep him from getting the pass off. Which I’m sure is what Lowndes will try to do.

REVSDH

November 16th, 2013
4:14 pm

i’ll be at 12 oaks but i hope rd 3 of Lovejoy Lowndes has a different outcome. The Oaks will be loud and most likely more so from the visitors side. When they played LJ in ‘99 they rolled up in 2 charter buses of fans plus those who drove separate, and that was Thanksgiving Break week as well

Marietta all the way

November 16th, 2013
4:23 pm

First off the second to last play was a fumble that we recovered so we should have gotten ball. Thats strike 1. Second off when the ball was snapped the clock hit 0 seconds. thats strike 2. Third off he was out off bounds when he caught it. Lovejoy lost in gods hands. Our seniors in marching were devistated with the horrible call from the payed pressed box and payed referee. Shame on yall. The score board is a lie just like ALL OF LOVEJOY.

SouthFla

November 16th, 2013
4:40 pm

People like Marietta all the way has no clue about football, and couldn’t have been at the game.

Marietta all the way

November 16th, 2013
5:16 pm

im in the marching band so we pay attention the whole time so idk what u talking about @SouthFla

SouthFla

November 16th, 2013
5:25 pm

We’ll u sure didn’t pay attention last night if you did you would have seen that your coach let one player beat him up and down the field.

Marietta fan

November 16th, 2013
5:29 pm

Yes we should’ve recovered the fumble and the receiver may have stepped out on the route, but we didn’t make the play and Lovejoy won the game.

Wildcat Pride

November 16th, 2013
6:01 pm

Great game. Not many wildcat fans disrespecting Marietta. Why all the disrespect coming from the North.

Sportsnut

November 16th, 2013
6:51 pm

@Marietta Fan 2 == That voice you heard was mine. I sit below the announcer and it was I that was making the calls. All the things you talked about were or are falsehoods. The announcer is not a part of Lovejoy. He is a county employee. We have nothing to do with that. Your team lost but it was a great game.

As It Stands

November 16th, 2013
6:58 pm

Here’s a link to the video of Preston’s final touchdown catch. It looks even more improbable from this viewpoint, IMO.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ored77KA204

As It Stands

November 16th, 2013
7:15 pm

@Marietta all the way, I don’t think you were paying attention well enough. 1:That fumble was definitely recovered by #2. 2:The ball was snapped before the clock hit zero, which means the play was in effect, and the clock was ignored. This isn’t basketball. 3: Watch the video I posted. Williams made a clean (although quite on a rope) catch in bounds, and got a clean score. And just by coincidence, I’m ALSO in marching band, but the one from across the field.

As It Stands

November 16th, 2013
7:26 pm

You should probably read up a bit on the rules of football.

Marietta fan

November 16th, 2013
7:49 pm

Could it get any worse? Now the Dawgs lose on a hail mary

bksmith14

November 16th, 2013
11:04 pm

lowndes defense is better than mariettas, however our offense is not as prolific. we stomed east coweta like a red headed step child last night pulling our starters out when the 4th qtr started. If lowndes is able to run the ball against lovejoy i like our chances to win. I am sure we will put brandon roberts #31 who has been playing safety ( he is also our best corner and d-1 recruit) on lovejoys best reciever…he will either shade to his side or go one on one with him. I told you SPORTSNUT that marietta was the best 4 seed in the entire bracket and it took a miracle for you guys to win..but a win is a win no matter how you shake it. We have a very young qb (sophmore) and a good defense, especially against the run so next weeks matchup is going to be interesting. Depends on which teams show up to play. I dont know how in the world you guys let east coweta score 35 on you guys…they scored 3 points on our starting defense and the only reason they did that is bc we tried a pooch kick right before half for whatever reason and we got called for kick catch interference and they got the ball at midfield with 20 sec or so before half and got to the 30 and kicked a fg. Should be fun next week..good luck

Sportsnut

November 17th, 2013
8:30 am

@B.K. == Congrats on the win. We also play a sophomore at Qb. And at several other positions. One big difference is you have to be concerned with which team shows up, we don’t. We know Lovejoy will show up. Playing Lovejoy football. East Coweta was hyped for their game against us. Lovejoy did what good teams do and find a way to win.

This seems to be lost on many of you who think Lovejoy is what they were last season. We are not. We are Lovejoy though and that means our opponent must, I repeat, must come ready to play until the clock hits 0:00. Lowndes had better come to us with a full game and not just a running team.

Wildcat Pride

November 17th, 2013
8:43 am

Good luck Lovejoy and Lowndes. Lovejoy was suppose to lose out early the last 2 years. We played “perennials” and beat them all the way to the State Championship game in consecutive years. We have no idea what is going to happen. I have no idea why we are posting like we know what is going to happen. “We play to win the game” in my Herm Edwards voice. Any team left can win this weekend and ultimately win the whole thing. The truth is this is Lovejoy’s down year. 6A is just real week this year. And by the way, Preston was at least a yard from the endzone, I have no idea what Mariette Fan was talking about. The Band? Yeah those are the most reliable football fans around.

Wildcat Pride

November 17th, 2013
8:44 am

Weak not week and sideline not endzone.