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GHSA state semifinals: First day marked by dramatic comebacks
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ATLANTA — Deron Furr scored on a 3-yard game-winning touchdown run to cap a fourth-quarter comeback that lifted Carver-Columbus to a 26-24 victory over Chamblee in the Class AAA state semifinals Friday.

The Tigers (14-0) will play in next week’s title game against the winner of today’s matchup between Cairo and North Hall.

Chamblee controlled much of the game, until Carver-Columbus surged in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs took a 24-6 lead in the third quarter when Malcolm Beyah scored on a 15-yard run.

But Furr and receiver Jarmon Fortson hooked up on several passing plays to get Carver-Columbus back into the game.

Furr scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and connected with Fortson on a 10-yard touchdown with a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 24-20 in the fourth quarter.

After the Tigers’ defense held Chamblee, Furr threw a 33-yard pass to Fortson to put them on the 9-yard line with 23 seconds left in the game. On the next play, Furr got a five-yard gain, then scrambled for the game-winning touchdown.

Furr, who completed 13 of 19 passes, threw for 311 yards and accounted for four scores — two passing and two on the ground. Fortson caught eight passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

Warren Norman led Chamblee with 86 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Darius Jones added 78 yards rushing, which included a 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Northside-Warner Robins 31,
Tucker 28

ATLANTA — Devon Pike made an 18-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter and injured quarterback Marques Ivory guided Northside-Warner Robins to overcome a 21-point deficit to beat Tucker 31-28 in the Class AAAA state semifinals Friday night.

The Eagles (14-0) will advance to next week’s championship game against Ware County.

Northside will be going for its second straight crown after beating Marist in last year’s title game.

Tucker jumped to a 28-7 lead with a couple of quick scores before halftime. Drayton Calhoun broke for a 68-yard touchdown, and soon after Tristan Carter returned a fumble 24 yards for a TD.

But the defending champions rallied behind a tough defense and Ivory, who didn’t play in the first half because of a broken left fibula from a previous game.

He tossed a 69-yard touchdown to Kevyn Cooper in the third quarter, then both connected again on an 82-yard passing score to cut the lead to 28-21 with 9:28 left in the fourth.

Northside tied the game at 28 with 2:32 remaining when Ivory threw a 31-yard touchdown to Brandon Jordan. Ivory, who completed 11-of-13 passes, finished with 302 yards passing.

Cooper had four catches for 175 yards, while Nick Bass caught four passes for 75 yards for the Eagles.

Drayton Calhoun ran for 165 yards on 12 carries for the Tigers (13-1). Derrick Harris gained 83 yards on the ground on eight carries, while Jonathan Davis had six carries for 61 yards.

Wilcox County 32,
Athens Academy 14

ATLANTA — Lorenzo Dennard threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, while his twin brother Alfonzo had 134 yards receiving and a score to help Wilcox County cruise to a 32-14 win over Athens Academy in the Class A state semifinals Friday.

The Patriots (13-1), aiming for the school’s first Class A title, will face Emanuel County Institute.

Wilcox County took a 26-7 lead in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown by Antonio Marshall, who finished with 81 yards on 15 carries and another touchdown in the first half.

Before the scoring run, Wilcox County tight end Joe James had a 53-yard reception after the football bounced off a Spartan defender.

Lorenzo Dennard, who completed 9 of 13 passes and an interception, threw a 76-yard touchdown to Willie Gibson in the fourth. In the first half, Lorenzo and Alfonzo connected for a 30-yard score.

Athens Academy (12-2), which lost its second straight semifinals game, was led by Will Callaway, who ran for 70 yards on 15 carries.

Emanuel County Institute 35,
Clinch County 14

ATLANTA — Washaun Ealey ran for 280 yards and four touchdowns to lead Emanuel County Institute to a 35-14 win over Clinch County in the Class A state semifinals Friday.

The Bulldogs (14-0) will play for the state title next week against Wilcox County, which beat Athens Academy 32-14 earlier Friday.

The last time the teams met was in the 2004 first round of the state playoffs, when Clinch County won 31-9. The Panthers went on to claim the Class A championship.

But Emanuel County Institute prevailed this time, holding off an attempted rally in the second half. Clinch County (11-3) cut the lead to 21-14 in the third quarter when Ronnie Hill scored on a 2-yard run a few plays after a blocked punt.

After the Panthers regained the ball off a turnover, they gave the ball right back on a fumble by Dominique Ellis, who had three interceptions.

That’s all the Bulldogs needed as Ealey then scored on touchdown runs of 57- and 80-yards to put the game away.

Ealey, who finished with 17 carries, scored on runs of 3 and 47 yards in the first half for the Bulldogs, who have scored at least 28 points in the every game this season.

Clinch County quarterback Vintavious Cooper threw for 156 yards and gained 68 yards on the ground. Cooper had a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Ware County 10,
Thomas County Central 7

ATLANTA — Dustin Cox threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Keyhea early in the fourth quarter to help Ware County upset Thomas County Central 10-7 in the Class AAAA state semifinals Friday night.

The Gators (12-2) will play for the state title next week against Northside-Warner Robins, which overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Tucker earlier on Friday. It’s the second straight upset for the Gators after beating Habersham Central 30-0 in the quarterfinals.

Coming into the game, Ware County’s defense had held its opponents to 9.7 points per game in the playoffs. They played even better this game by not allowing a touchdown until Debrale Smiley scored on a 1-yard run to give the Yellow Jackets (13-1) a 7-3 lead with 5:07 left in the third quarter.

But Ware County responded in the fourth when Cox connected with Keyhea for the game-deciding score. Cox, who completed 10 of 18 passes, also threw for 126 yards.

Thomas County Central had a chance late in the fourth. P.J. William threw a long pass to Jermaine Miller, but the receiver fumbled the ball and a Ware County defender recovered it at the 17-yard line.

Smiley led the Yellow Jackets with 94 yards on 16 carries.

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