Trailing 20-17 with 12 minutes to play, Chattahoochee scored on all three four-quarter possessions to beat Centennial 33-20 at The Fortress.
The win ends Centennial’s season a victory short of the state playoffs and sends the Cougars to the post-season for the third straight year. Chattahoochee will travel to undefeated Norcross next Friday for their first round Class-AAAAAA state playoff game.
“I think we’re playing as good as anybody in our region right now and we’re excited for a chance to go to the playoffs,” said Chattahoochee head coach Terry Crowder after the game. “Our run game came on strong tonight and I thought we played a really good game, especially when we needed to in the fourth quarter.”
Centennial quarterback Chase Rosenberg gave Centennial their only second-half lead with 19 seconds to play in the third quarter, finding freshman Caden Herring wide open in the end zone for an 8-yard score to give the Knights a 3-point advantage.
But the Cougar offense saved their best football of the season for the fourth quarter of their final regular season game.
Running back C.J. Leggett took the first snap of the ensuing drive 50 yards inside the Knight 25-yard line. Chase Nelson then hammered an 8-yard run inside the 15 and Leggett gave Chattahoochee the lead back three plays later on a 4-yard run with 9:30 to play.
A quick three-and-out from the Hooch defense flipped the ball back to the Cougar offense in good field position and a 34-yard pass from Travis Marshall to Avery Ward eventually set up a 27-yard Adam Abdellaoui field goal that made the game 27-20.
Rosenberg and Centennial quickly had the Knights threatening to tie the game, and after a 33 yard pass to Christian Robinson were inside the Cougar 25.
But a pair of incompletions and two procedure penalties led to a fourth-and-15 pass falling harmlessly to the turf and swinging the ball back to Chattahoochee with under three minutes to play.
Marshall found Collin Lisa on a fly-pattern plays later for a 65-yard score to put the final nail in the coffin and bring the game to a 33-20 final.
“Our hats are off to Chattahoochee, they made the plays late in the game that they needed to make,” said Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg. “Only one team gets to walk away from a game like this happy and it was them, but I am proud as heck of my guys because they fought so hard for me.”
Rosenberg finished the game with 312 yards passing to lead Chattahoochee and three total touchdowns — scoring on a 2-yard run in the first quarter and connecting with Alex Prescott for a 9-yard score in the third.
Leggett led all players in the game with 85 yards rushing and two scores while Nelson had 95 total yards for the Cougars.
The loss ends the first year of Carlberg’s Centennial tenure at 3-7, a modest record on the surface but one he said he is proud of as he reflects on the growth of his team from start to finish.
“No quit,” he said. “We played with no quit all year and to come back from 0-5 to a game, and really a play or two away, from the playoffs says so much about our kids.”
Chattahoochee 33, Centennial 20
CHAT 0 14 3 16 — 33
CENT 7 0 13 0 — 20
CENT: Chase Rosenberg 2 run (kick good)
CHAT: C.J. Leggett 6 run (Adam Abdellaoui kick)
CHAT: Chase Nelson 3 run (Abdellaoui kick)
CENT: Alex Prescott 9 pass from Rosenberg (kick failed)
CHAT: Abdellaoui 31 field goal
CENT: Caden Herring 8 pass from Rosenberg (kick good)
CHAT: Leggett 4 run (Abdellaoui kick)
CHAT: Abdellaoui 27 field goal
CHAT: Collin Lisa 65 pass from Travis Marshall (kick blocked)
16 First Downs 19
146 Rushing Yards 35
212 Passing Yards 312
358 Total Yards 347
13/22 Comp/Attempts 30/48
1 Interceptions 1
0/0 Fumbles/Lost 2/1
9/60 Penalties/Yards 6/50
3/37.0 Punts/Averages 4/30.0
RUSHING: Chattahoochee — Marshall 12-(-6), Nelson 9-65, Leggett 13-87. Centennial — Patrick Inwood, 5-21, Rosenberg 10-(-20), Christian Robinson 1-0, Herring 4-34.
PASSING: Chattahoochee — Marshall 13-22-1, 212. Rosenberg — 30-48-1, 312.
RECEIVING: Chattahoochee — Lisa 4-82, Alec Rubin 4-26, Avery Ward 4-64, Nelson 1-30. Centennial — Robinson 8-124, Inwood 5-58, Herring 9-84, Prescott 4-27, Michael Lopez 3-15, Matthew Harries 1-4.