Kell (13-1) was held to its lowest point total of the season, and its defense had no answers for Creekside, which entered the game averaging more than 40 points per game.
Bricen Terry had 16 carries for 123 yards and three touchdowns, while Dexter Knox rushed 25 times for 220 yards and three scores. Elliot Berry ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the Seminoles’ first play from scrimmage coming out of halftime.
Kell saw its season come to a close in its first state semifinal appearance. Creekside (14-0) remained undefeated and advanced to face Tucker in next Friday’s state championship at the Georgia Dome.
“(Creekside is) a great football team,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “We helped them out with some mistakes early and gave them a comfortable cushion, and they were able to build on that in the second half. They had some big plays. They’re a very athletic and physical football team and weren’t able to match them (Friday). They wore us down in the second half.”
Kell found a spark early with a nine-play drive that stalled inside the 5 and led to a 20-yard field goal from Cameron Massung.
Creekside failed to score on its two first quarter possessions, but the Seminoles eventually found the end zone when the snap sailed high over the head of Kell punter Julien Chang, giving Creekside first-and-goal from the 5.
Terry scored from 2 yards out three plays later, and the rout was on.
Another bad snap gave Creekside possession on the Kell 39, and Knox ran in for a score to put the Seminoles up 14-3 in the second.
Cameron Jackson’s interception of a Cameron Rosendahl pass led to a six-play, 60-yard touchdown drive, and Evan Berry’s interception of Matthew McGuigan early in the third quarter resulted in Terry’s 20-yard run that capped the Seminoles’ 34-0 scoring burst midway through the third.
“Cameron hadn’t done anything wrong,” Cook said of inserting McGuigan, a senior, as quarterback at the start of the second half. “It’s just that Matt has had a great career here and I wanted to give him a shot at it, and he answered the bell and got us on the board. It was possibly the last game he might have.”
McGuigan ended Creekside’s scoring run with a 67-yard pass to Julian Burris on Kell’s next possession.
Two plays later, the Longhorns had new life after Keith Hampton recovered a fumble at the Creekside 26, but the drive stalled inside the 5 when Quatrez Sparkman intercepted McGuigan near the end zone.
Heavy rain and wind limited both teams’ effectiveness late in the third quarter and into the early part of the fourth.
And though the weather let up, Kell’s turnovers did not.
Joshua Moon recovered a fumbled snap deep in Kell territory, and Knox answered with a 12-yard run to extend Creekside’s lead 41-10 with 9:11 left in the contest.
Knox later added a 51-yard touchdown run with 4:10 on the clock for the final score of the game.
“We’ve been a team all year about adversity,” Creekside coach Olten Downs said. “We pride ourselves on pushing through everything that goes on, and (Friday) was another step in the right direction for us.”
Trailing 21-3 near the end of the second quarter, Kell even got an extra down when the referees mishandled the down-and-distance markers, but it didn’t matter for the Longhorns who were unable to finish the drive before halftime.
“Creekside made some great adjustments after that initial drive when we just marched down the field and got the field goal,” Cook said. “We found some success sporadically, but they have a great defense with some great speed.”
Creekside held Kell to 4 yards in the second quarter.
“We wanted to limit their playmakers and make them work for everything they got,” Downs said. “They have skill guys that work both ways, so we wanted to be good offensively to wear those guys out. It was a great week of focus.”
Kell’s Jay Moxey rushed 24 times for 77 yards. Darian Harris had 11 carries for 50 yards, and Burris had four receptions for 81 yards and a score.
Rosendahl was 8-of-15 for 80 yards and threw his first interception of the playoffs. McGuigan was 4-of-12 for 79 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
“We had a great season, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished,” Cook said. “This senior class has been unbelievably successful. I hate that we couldn’t finish it in the Dome.”