From Trojan field in Milledgeville on a cool brisk Friday night, John Milledge Academy came up just one play short of going to the state championship game. The Valwood Valiants eked out a 27-24 win to advance to the title game next week in Valdosta.
With electricity in the air and in front of an estimated almost 2,000 Trojan supporters, the J.T. Wall coached Trojans fought until the last play. JMA took the ball first and seemed to have a first down on a fake punt, but came up two yards short. The Valiants then scored on a 57-yard touchdown pass and took an early 7-0 lead. But the Trojans were not to be deterred and marched back down field behind the running of Cooper Morgan, Tommy Pittman and Brantley Attaway. Also on the drive, Attaway connected with Drew Reece for a 20-yard pass to keep the drive alive.
Morgan had 27 yards on the drive that culminated it with a 2-yard touchdown plunge to pay dirt making it 7-7 after the Trent Thiel extra point kick.
Valwood then took the all on its next possession and scored on a 39-yard pass with 47 seconds left to play in the first quarter. Valwood’s running back was like a pinball throughout the first half as he ran and bounced around for 78 yards on five carries in the first two quarters.
The Trojans were looking to knot it up at the half, but fumbled to kill the drive with 1:11 to go before halftime.
Coming out to start the third quarter with a 14-7 lead, Valwood struck quickly and scored on a 35-yard run, making it 21-7 early in the third quarter. That's when Wall and his team seemed to say it would not happen in their house.
Pittman was the workhorse on the next Trojan drive with 37 yards before giving way to Morgan, who blasted in for his second touchdown from one yard out making it 21-14. This seemed to spark the JMA defense as they forced a three and out.