Indians 30, Knights 21
Difference maker: Ian McIntosh scored three touchdowns and finished with 187 total yards. He scored on a 64-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and added a juggling 19-yard touchdown catch and a 12-yard touchdown run.
Stat that matters: McIntosh leads the Indians in touchdowns, rushing yards, receiving yards and punt and kick returns.
Turning point: Leading 17-13 early in the fourth quarter, Lumpkin County capitalized on a Johnson special teams miscue that set up the Indians at the Knights’ 15-yard line. Two plays later, McIntosh scored to put the Indians in command.
Who’s next: Lumpkin County opens 8-AAA North play at home against White County on Sept. 30. Johnson returns home to open 8-AAA South play against Gainesville on Sept. 30.
DAHLONEGA - Lumpkin County coach Tommy Jones has trouble coming up with words to describe his senior star Ian McIntosh.
Electric seems appropriate after McIntosh scored three touchdowns and accounted for more than half of the Indians' total yards in a hard-fought 31-20 homecoming win over a gritty Johnson team Friday in Dahlonega.
McIntosh finished with 187 yards of offense, 64 coming on the game's opening play from scrimmage. His 64-yard sprint down the sideline on a sweep around the left end was a prime example of his sub-4.4 speed and set the tone for the Indians' win.
McIntosh added a juggling 19-yard touchdown reception right before half and 12-yard tackle-breaking touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
"It's just hard to put into words how valuable he is to us," said Jones, whose team heads into subregion play at 3-1. "But he's really started to want the ball in clutch. He's our difference-maker."
After four games, McIntosh leads the Indians in rushing, receiving and punt and kick returns. Jones said McIntosh's big start to the season has started to generate some recruiting interest from major colleges
Despite McIntosh's big night, Johnson (0-4) hung tough and trailed just 17-13 heading into the fourth quarter. But an errant snap on a punt attempt, followed by a personal foul penalty, set up Lumpkin at the Johnson 15.
Two plays later, McIntosh bounced up the middle for a 12-yard score that extended the Indians' lead to 24-13.
The Knights answered, cutting the lead to 24-21 on a 5-yard touchdown run by A.J. Millwood and a successful two-point conversion on a pass from Justin Thomson to Luis Hernandez. Cedric Harris' 55-yard burst on fourth-and-1 set up Millwood's second score of the night.
But the Indians responded with an eight-play, 70-yard drive, capped by quarterback Logan Moye's short touchdown plunge with 2:50 to play.
Gunner Wood, who led the Indians with 10 tackles, sealed the win with an interception on Johnson's ensuing drive.
It was another tough loss for Paul Friel's Knights, who have only 12 upperclassmen in their regular rotation.
"No, we don't have much margin for error," Friel said. "So we can't afford silly mistakes like on special teams and penalties. Those really hurt us tonight."
Harris led the Knights with 151 yards rushing. He scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter.
Millwood also went over 100 yards on the ground, finishing with 101 and two scores.
Lumpkin quarterback Daniel McCrary, who is used in two-minute situations, orchestrated a scoring drive right before halftime. He found McIntosh on a fade pattern with four seconds before half. McIntosh tipped the pass over a Johnson defender and corralled it to give the Indians a 14-7 at intermission.
McCrary completed 8-of-9 passes for 82 yards a touchdown. Moye did most of his damage on the ground, finishing with 67 yards on 13 carries.
The Indians played without leading tackler Mitchell Stephens, who was lost for the season with a back injury. Earlier in the season, star defensive end B.J. Dorsey was also lost with a knee injury.