On the game-winning play, it looked as if Urzua was going to spike the ball, but a well-executed fake caught some of the McEachern defenders flat-footed, which gave him enough time to find Knudsen over the middle.
Urzua was the star of the game and put up numbers that rival the best performances the state has ever seen.
He threw for 490 yards – good for ninth on the all-time single-game passing list according to the Georgia High School Football Historian’s Association record book. Urzua also threw seven touchdown passes matches former Lassiter standout and current Georgia starting quarterback Hutson Mason, Charlton County’s Jeremy Privett, Lee County’s Justin Walker and Gainesville’s DeShaun Watson for fourth all-time for a single game. Urzua’s final touchdown pass capped a 68-yard drive in the final 1:40, with no timeouts, for the win.
“This game was just exactly like the five weeks in the playoff last year,” North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire said. “We had so many games that came down to the wire.”
In a game where the Bulldogs ran 86 plays to McEachern’s 59, and featured 1,046 yards of total offense, the final touchdown spoiled a potential party that Indians’ fans would have continued well passed 1:40 a.m., the time the game finally ended.
Just minutes earlier, McEachern appeared to be in good position to win. Tyler Smith caught a 22-yard pass from quarterback Bailey Hockman with 3:38 left to allow the Indians to reclaim a 49-45 lead.
It looked even better when Chuma Edoga, McEachern’s five-star offensive lineman, subbed in on defense and came through with a 10-yard sack, to force a North Gwinnett punt, with just under 3 minutes to play. But McEachern could not get the one first down it needed to be able to run out the clock, and was forced to punt.
“We had chances to win the game, but we didn’t, and they made the last play,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “I’m proud that we kept competing on both sides of the ball, but again, they made the last play.”
The Indians, who became the first Cobb County team ever to earn a preseason No. 1 ranking, jumped to an early 21-7 lead on three touchdowns by Taj Griffin. The Oregon commitment rushed 22 times for 150 yards in the game, but Griffin left the game in the late stages with what appeared to be a knee injury. Kyle Hockman said Griffin may have twisted it when he planted his leg while trying to make a tackle on punt coverage late in the fourth quarter, but the severity of the injury is unknown.
Bailey Hockman threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns. He was at his best in the fourth quarter when he threw a 72-yard touchdown to Smith and followed with a 74-yarder to TJ Rahming to rally the Indians from a 38-28 deficit.
Hockman also came through with a 35-yard strike to Rahming on the second play of the second half to help McEachern reclaim the lead after letting a 14-point advantage slip away. Rahming finished the night with 175 yards receiving and two touchdowns.