MABLETON -- Dayshawn Anderson could not believe how much open real estate was in front of him.

With 6 seconds remaining and the scored tied at 14-all, Anderson dropped back for a pass to try and make one final play for Wheeler. However, instead of forcing the action with his arm, he took a much easier route with his legs.

"I knew we were out of timeouts, and there was nobody was open," Anderson said, "so I broke the pocket and knew I had to make a play. I was surprised I was so wide-open."

Anderson's decision resulted in a 15-yard touchdown run that gave Wheeler the lead with 1 second remaining, and the Wildcats went on to beat Region 2AAAAAAA foe Pebblebrook 21-14 to secure the region's No. 4 seed for next week's state playoffs.

Wheeler (5-5, 3-2) ended the regular season on a three-game win streak to earn its first state playoff berth since 2015.

"We're really excited to be in the playoffs," first-year coach Bryan Love said. "We talked about getting to the second season. Every game these last three weeks has been a playoff game. The kids have been so resilient. This is the first time in the playoffs for this group of seniors, and I'm just so excited and proud of this team."

Wheeler trailed 14-7 after Pebblebrook's Quincey Miller forced a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by Darius Murray, putting the Falcons in front with 6:42 left in the third quarter.

Pebblebrook (3-7, 1-4) had Wheeler on the ropes on its ensuing possession, facing second-and-10 from its 16 with 6:01 to play, when a scrambling Anderson found J.D. Thomas for what should have been a short gain. Thomas, however, broke free and weaved his way for a 68-yard gain.

Anderson connected with Brandon Andrews three plays later to tie the game 14-all.

Pebblebrook's offense took over at its own 16 with 2 minutes remaining, but the Wheeler defense held, resulting in a short punt that gave Wheeler possession at the Falcons' 40 with 40 seconds left.

A 15-yard completion to Elliott, coupled with a defensive holding penalty, got Wheeler to the 15, leading to Anderson's game-winning run.

"We had opportunities," Pebblebrook coach Leroy Hood said. "We were up 14-7 but didn't make plays. That long completion really gave them momentum, and we didn't recover."

Anderson finished 11-for-20 for 233 yards with two touchdowns. Elliott caught five passes for 102 yards, and Andrews had four receptions for 56 yards and a score.

Marveon Boyd had nine carries for 33 yards and a touchdown to pace Pebblebrook. Jaquavious Jones added 28 yards on the ground.

Wheeler held a 7-0 lead for a majority of the first half until Boyd broke free for a 37-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7-all at halftime.

Quincey Miller helped set up Boyd's score as the senior defensive end recorded a sack and forced fumble of Anderson. Boyd scored two plays later to tie the contest with 44 seconds remaining in the half.

Wheeler scored on its opening possession behind a 28-yard touchdown reception for Andrews. The catch capped an eight-play, 76-yard drive which included three plays of 20 or more yards, including a 32-yard conversion on fourth-and-3.

Pebblebrook's Austin Collier had 2 1/2 sacks in the first half.


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.