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Lovett advances to Class AA state football title contest
by Greg Oshust
December 11, 2013 03:32 PM | 3425 views | 1 1 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special / Perry McIntyre / Lovett’s Murphy Lee runs past a Brooks County defender during the Lions’ 35-12 Class AA semifinal win last Friday.
Special / Perry McIntyre / Lovett’s Murphy Lee runs past a Brooks County defender during the Lions’ 35-12 Class AA semifinal win last Friday.
Lovett is one game away from a chance to win its first state football championship since 1970 after the Lions defeated Brooks County 35-12 in the semifinals of the Class AA playoffs at Kilpatrick Stadium last Friday.

With the win, Lovett (13-1) now plays Lamar County in the AA finals at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

It will be the first trip to the state title game for the Lions since 2007, when they lost to Buford 50-0.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “Our kids have battled all year long. We played as difficult a schedule as you can imagine. They’ve run the gauntlet and they’ve earned the right to be there.”

Grant Haley rushed for 120 yards on 20 carries, scored three touchdowns and had an interception on defense, while Murphy Lee rushed for 79 yards on 17 rushes and a score to lead the Lions.

Lovett jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as Willie Candler threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jack McGranahan with 5:24 remaining to complete a 12-play, 68-yard drive and Haley scored on a 17-yard run with 2:21 left – with Cole McGowan adding the extra point after both scores.

Haley scored again on a 7-yard run, with McGowan kicking the extra point, to finish off a 13-play, 87-yard drive and increase the Lions’ advantage to 21-0 with 6:46 remaining in the first half.

Brooks County got on the scoreboard towards the end of the first half when Ijohn Parrish threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Malkom Parrish with 55 seconds left – with Parrish’s two-point conversion pass attempt falling incomplete – to help the Trojans’ cut their deficit to 21-6.

Lovett scored twice more in the third quarter to put the game away as Lee ran in four yards for a touchdown with 4:01 remaining and Haley added his third score of the contest with a 20-yard scamper at the 1:39 mark – with McGowan making the extra-point kick both times.

“The team played great,” Haley said. “It was a total team effort and everybody did what they had to do.”

For Muschamp, it was a matter of executing an effective ball-control offense and neutralizing a potent Brooks County offensive attack that has averaged 36 points a game.

“Brooks County has such an explosive offense,” Muschamp said. “They can score from any part of the field at any point of time and the way you prevent them from scoring is to play really good defense, which our kids did [Friday]. We wanted to control the football and make them big play us and that was our best chance to win.”

Now, Lovett gets a second shot at Lamar County, which eliminated the Lions from the AA playoffs last year with a 35-28 defeat in the quarterfinals.

“I know we have a shot at Lamar County and we hope to get revenge a little bit,” Haley said. “We’re excited about it and it’s going to be a good game.”

Meanwhile, Marist (11-3) saw its season come to an end in dramatic fashion with a 46-44, four-overtime loss to Carrollton in a AAAA semifinal game at Hughes Spalding Stadium last Friday.

The War Eagles came back from a 22-7 deficit to tie the game and send it into overtime as Marcus Miller scored on a five-yard run in the third quarter and Chase Martensen threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Trey Oates – with Miller running the ball into the end zone for a 2-point conversion.

Who will win the Class AA state title game between Lovett and Lamar County?

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