Class AA Championship: Lovett 14, Lamar County 7

From the beginning, the Lovett Lions demonstrated an aggressive attitude that would ultimately prevail. For the first time in more than 40 years, the Lions can call themselves state champions, defeating the Lamar County Trojans 14-7 in the Class AA title game on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Senior running back Grant Haley’s 41-yard touchdown run with 8:09 remaining in the third quarter was the game’s final score and gave the Lions a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Haley was aided by a defense that contained the speed of the Trojans’ dangerous trio of seniors Lance and Lawrence Austin and Quay Searcy, who were held in check the entire game.

“This is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life” said Haley, a Vanderbilt commit who has been the leader of the Lions all season. He finished the game with 134 yards on 22 carries. “It was definitely a great win for the seniors. I’m really shocked we’re here right now.”

The Lions (14-1) opened the game with an onside kick and on the same drive, went for it on fourth down and converted. Though they ultimately punted on that opening drive, they sent a message that this wouldn’t be just another game.

“Lamar County’s got an awful lot of speed and they’ve got such great athletes who are so well-coached,” Lions coach Mike Muschamp said. “The only way I know to attack that is to go right at them, and that’s what we did tonight.”

Junior quarterback Willie Candler’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Jack McGranahan opened the game’s scoring three minutes into the second quarter.

The game was mostly a defensive battle, and the Lions held twins Lance and Lawrence Austin to less than 100 yards each and kept them out of the end zone.

Lamar County(14-1) kept the game tight, responding to Lovett’s first score on their next possession with an impressive nine-play, 65-yard drive capped by Quentin Frazier’s 11-yard run to tie the game at 7 with 5:21 left in the first half.

But that would turn out to be Trojans’ only score of the game.

“It was a great season,” said Trojans coach Franklin Stephens, who was gunning for his third state championship as a head coach after leading Tucker to its first two state titles in ’08 and ’11.

“We had a chance for greatness. However, I feel like I just didn’t do a good enough job of getting our kids ready for a game of this magnitude.”

Lamar County 0 7 0 0 – 7

Lovett 0 7 7 0 – 14

Lovett – Jack McGranahan 8 pass from Willie Candler (Cole McGowan kick)

Lamar County – Quentin Frazier 11 run (Tyler Scandrett kick)

Lovett – Grant Haley 41 run (McGowan kick)

Send Adam Krohn an email at AdamKrohnAJC@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter.

29 comments Add your comment

Pace Student

December 14th, 2013
6:25 pm

Congrats to Lovett! Happy to see a championship brought to the 404. HopefullyPace can be successful next year in region with them

Cwick

December 14th, 2013
6:27 pm

Well done Lions, very proud!

Ben

December 14th, 2013
6:31 pm

Wow, as an alumnus I’ve followed Lovett from afar for many years, last attending a game in ‘04. It’s always seemed like there was at least one more team out there that was better, such as Elbert County and of course Buford. I have to agree with Washington County Coach Jim Ingram that Muschamp gets the most out of his players. Checking in every once in awhile on TV, I was stunned to see so many people in the stands.
This team stamped itself as special with the comeback victory over Marist, and I assume had the team play and ‘intangibles’ going for it to make them hard to beat.
Congratulations to Lamar County on a hard-fought game and now several successful seasons; you’ll be back given Stephens as coach.

Lovett Fan

December 14th, 2013
7:07 pm

Great Lamar program two years in a row. Is this getting to be a habit? Good luck next year.

Sportsnut

December 14th, 2013
7:24 pm

Congrats Lovett on the big win. Kudo’s to Lamar County for a great season. A very good game played by both teams.

An impartial reader

December 14th, 2013
7:35 pm

I watched this game. Solid job by Lovett, which was solid all year. The Haley kid can flat out play. Also, Georgia Tech is getting a couple of good ones from Lamar County, even though the twins didn’t have their usual performance. Also, thanks to Adam on the fine story recap.

Lion Nation

December 14th, 2013
9:52 pm

Congratulations Lovett. Well deserved and so much fun to watch this football team this year.

oldbirddawg

December 14th, 2013
10:49 pm

As a Lamar County fan who was at the dome this afternoon, I am happy to say I am proud to be a Trojan. Our young men fought hard in a well played game but Lovett was the better team, especially across the lines. Thanks Lovett fans who have posted here tonight. Classy comments by the winners. Enjoy your championship. Well deserved, especially considering the non region schedule you played. Outstanding season Lions.

Lovett Parent

December 14th, 2013
10:58 pm

What a terrific season for the Lovett players and coaches, and an exciting championship for the entire Lovett community. Hats off to Lamar County too. A well coached team that deserved to be in the championship game. Also appreciate the quality reporting by Adam throughout the season.

Jpmjr

December 15th, 2013
12:30 am

I was at Lovett the last time they won the State in football. Congratulations to the Lovett football team and the school.

Quincy2013

December 15th, 2013
1:13 am

Lovett is the truth. They were ignored and not given credit for a win record playing the most difficult schedule in the State for the entire year. 14 of the 15 teams that Lovett played were in the playoffs. Lovetts only loss was to WACO, in OT, with the backup QB; did anyone notice played in the State Championship? AJC all but counted this team out. CONGRATS Lions for believing in each other nothing short of an amazing season! You are truly a Band of Brothers. Lamar, great game – classy program – excellent coaches…congrats on your success!

Where is Trojan???

December 15th, 2013
2:53 am

Where is Trojan. I have enjoyed reading his comments the past few weeks and now he is no where to be found. Too great of a game to go and hide. Lamar played and is a top notch football team/program. I wish them all the best in the future.

How bout this Lions. IF there is another AA team from the state of Georgia that has accomplished what Lovett has this year please point them out. All the wins from upper division ranked opponents from AAA(4) a win over the #3 ream in AAAA, and wins in AA from (1, 2). The only lose comes at AAA Washington County in OT and with our backup QB…. I would tell you that is impossible for a team to do but I have seen it done now. This should be considered a top AA team of all-time. There have been some great ones but they were no forced to prove it week in week out on the field….

Go Lions…

Football Fan

December 15th, 2013
3:02 am

Wow, way to go Lions. This was an awesome season and a great fine to cap off the state title today. What a great group of kids, coaches and program. This was a hard fought championship to win and you did. Lamar had a great program and group of kids, there was not one fan in the house who was concerned that they might score in the end. Congrats to you Lamar.
Lions, enjoy the spoils tonight and over the holidays, you guys truly deserved this State Championship. I cannot wait until next year.

flboyz

December 15th, 2013
5:31 am

Please show your brother @ UF how to win a few games!

Time out

December 15th, 2013
8:15 am

Very impressed with LC fans and team. They have been gracious in victory & defeat. Bodes well for the future of the program and for the young men who are a part of it.

Very proud of the Lions #BOB and happy for #LIONNATION. It is hard to hold your tongue all season and wait for the football gods to issue the final verdict for 2013. Walk the walk, #BOB—–And in Jan, get back in the weight room!

Lovett Parent #2

December 15th, 2013
9:21 am

Congrats to Lamar for a great season. I spoke with many of the Lovett players after the game and they all said what a good team Lamar was and how well coached, respectful and classy they were. Very unlike our experience the previous week. I wish them the best.

Congrats to a fantastic Lovett team that continually exceeded expectations throughtout the season. It all started early last summer with a lot of hard work. Every member of that team should be proud of their accomplishment. Every single person played a role and made a contribution to a great season. This was truly a team effort and it all starts with an outstanding group of coaches. Awesome year!

Football Fan

December 15th, 2013
9:41 am

Sorry, meant to say ” there was not one fan in the dome who was NOT concern about Lamar scoring at the end of the game”.

graphite

December 15th, 2013
9:47 am

Hey Coach Stephens…. Good going.People know who Lamar Co. is now…… We miss you in Tucker and the Rock Hard !!!!! You had your hands on two 2nds. this year,that ain’t bad….. stay safe…Merry Christmas

JAB

December 15th, 2013
9:50 am

CONGRATS TO BOTH TEAMS ON A WELL PLAYED GAME, I WATCHED THIS GAME IN IT’S ENTIRETY. HAVE A SAFE OFF SEASON AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS! GOD BLESS…

Great Stuff

December 15th, 2013
10:19 am

Way to go Lions. You earned every bit of it the hard way. Lamar County is an exceptional team. Hats off to a great year for the Trojans from Barnesville.

Marist Fan GHSA hater

December 15th, 2013
10:54 am

Congrats Lions. After the win at Marist, I was convinced you could go all the way. After the win at GAC, I knew you would. Great bunch of players, solid group of parents and loyal fans. Muschamp’s efforts have proven that there is a way for the small private school to overcome the size and strength of the public schools. I don’ t think there was another AA school out there that could have beaten Lamar last night.

Hamilton

December 15th, 2013
5:08 pm

Congrats Lovett! I have been following you all year – very impressed at the INSANE schedule you put together. You showed that your team was indeed up to the challenge. Congrats to Coach Stevens and Lamar – I miss seeing you at the helm of Tucker, but your success at Lamar surprises absolutely no one.

Wildcat

December 15th, 2013
7:31 pm

As a Westminster parent, I was pulling for you last night.

Congrats!

LovettDad

December 15th, 2013
9:39 pm

Thanks Westie! We would have done the same for you. Word is with W moving up to 3A that Westminster is going to decline playing Lovett next year. Please rally your students, parents and alumni to demand that we keep the Battle of Buckhead going! Got to have the rivalry game!

Kramers2009

December 16th, 2013
8:26 am

Thank you, Wildcat. To echo LovettDad’s thoughts, we would have been pulling for you and that would be such a shame if Westminster and Lovett didn’t play next year or in the future. I sure hope that doesn’t happen. I hate that we aren’t going to be in the same class or region.

TheBigDawg - Woogenwolf

December 16th, 2013
2:32 pm

Man oh man how the lovett tables have turned. Seems like yesterday lovett was runnin the jett sweet every play for negative yards…blazed out too.

retired_soldier

December 16th, 2013
4:26 pm

I am so impressed by the many kind words by the Lovett fans for our beloved Trojans. What class! The better team won Sat. and both teams played a clean hard fought game. I had the great fortune to see all fourteen Trojan wins and our one loss. I never thought I would see a team hold us to a single touchdown, but Lovett’s outstanding defense did the trick. Best of luck Lovett, would love to have a rematch next year to break the 1-1 tie.

The Man

December 16th, 2013
6:35 pm

I always thought I was “The Man.” After watching that kid #1 play for Lovett in the Championship, I realize that I am wrong. I watched Lovett play back in early October and the kid hardly got any playing time on offense. A few carries here and there. Fast forward to the finals, and the kid was running like a wild beast with over 20 carries. Thoroughly impressed. I am no longer The Man, #1 for Lovett is THE MAN!

wow

December 16th, 2013
9:32 pm

Who was #66? He dominated the game on defense. #1 was the game changer on O and #66 was the force on D for the lions.