MARIETTA — It was not a typical back-and-forth game, but the momentum could not decide which sideline to stay on Friday in Lassiter’s 38-35 victory over Sprayberry at Frank Fillmann Stadium.
Lassiter (3-4, 3-2) scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams and never trailed in the game, but Sprayberry (2-3, 2-2) did not give in. It was not until Drew Campbell’s 44-yard field goal as time expired that the Trojans were able to close it out.
“That is Georgia high school football at its finest,” Lassiter coach Sean Thom said. “To make a kick like that is a heck of a job. He is 5-foot-4, but he works his tail off, and I couldn’t be happier for him. We are now right where we want to be going into this bye week.
“We told our guys it was going to be a dogfight and it was going to be a long 48 minutes, but we just needed to keep chopping.”
It was a special teams play that opened the scoring and gave Lassiter its first lead of the game 11 seconds in when Jaylen Dillahunty took the opening kickoff 78 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Bryson Harrison connected with Danny Curran for a 35-yard touchdown to push the lead to 14-0 early in the first quarter.
Sprayberry’s Isaiah Abbey then busted loose for his first of four runs of more than 20 yards with a 39-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7 with 4:28 to play in the first quarter.
Abbey carried Sprayberry with 209 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Kemari Nix chipped in 58 yards on five carries, all in the second half, and the Yellow Jackets rushed for 312 yards in the game.
Nix also threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
“It is obviously tough when it is back-and-forth like that, but I though our kids fought hard,” Sprayberry coach Brett Vavra said. “We didn’t always execute the way we needed to, but (Lassiter) played really good. We are close and we just need to keep working. We just had put the ball on the ground and missed a lot of opportunities in the first half. This game may have been different if we make some of those plays.”
Neither team scored in the second quarter until Nix found Jermaine Kenty on a 66-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 to play in the first half.
Thom said Sprayberry’s strategy was obvious from the first drive of the game.
“Hats off to Sprayberry,” he said. “(Abbey) is a phenomenal player and is a horse. We knew it and we made enough stops, and when we needed them, we got them.
Lassiter scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter on 18- and 5-yard touchdown runs from Harrison to push the lead back out to 28-14, but Abbey led the Yellow Jackets back to a 28-all tie with 10:20 to play in the game on 23- and 30-yard touchdown runs.
The Trojans gained the lead back on a double pass from Harrison to Curran to Cullen English that went for a 48-yard touchdown with 7:37 to play in the game. Nix tied the score at 35-all on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Pedro Luciano on fourth down with 3:03 left.
Lassiter then used an 11-play drive to bleed the rest of the clock, including a defensive pass interference call on a fourth-and-8 pass, before Campbell hit the game-winner.
“When we got to fourth-and-8 there was no hesitation,” Thom said. “Everyone was probably saying, ‘You need to punt the ball.’ Why? I don’t want (Abbey) to get the ball again. Thankfully, Drew saved us from having to go to overtime because you know who would have gotten the ball for them if we went to overtime.”