ATLANTA -- Pebblebrook never led at any point of the game against North Atlanta — except when it mattered the most.
Dwight Phillips’ 10-yard run in overtime — his second touchdown of the game — gave the Falcons a 20-17 overtime victory over the Warriors at empty Grady Stadium Friday night.
Pebblebrook (5-1) is off to their best start in 20 years, winning its fifth game in a row after losing the season opener to Peachtree Ridge.
Early in the fourth quarter trailing 14-7, the Falcons offense came up big on a nine-play, 90-yard drive that culminated with a 39-yard pass from Craig Adams Jr. to Damion Thompson to tie the game.
Starting at their 38 with 1:57 remaining, Adams Jr. had three first-down conversions -- rushes for 10 and 12 yards respectively, as well as a third-down pass to Jordan Fulks for eight yards -- advancing to the North Atlanta (2-1) 29. However, Syre Stewart’s diving interception at the 1 ended those hopes and sent the game into overtime.
After holding the Warriors to a 20-yard FG in overtime, Phillips scored on a reverse, running into the end zone untouched, setting off an enthusiastic Falcons’ celebration.
This game was an old-fashioned defensive struggle, as both teams struggled to consistently move the ball and sustain drives. Pebblebrook got off to a slow start, as a fumbled snap on their second offensive possession led to a 3-yard touchdown pass two plays later from Jack O’Kelley to Ned Coleman, giving the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons responded late in the first quarter with a 64-yard run by Phillips, tying the game at 7. The freshman rushed for 102 yards on six carries, showing poise of an upperclassman and came up big for the second week in a row.
“He was huge,” Pebblebrook coach Leroy Hood said. “With the big play last week, he had a huge play that broke the game wide open for us against Riverdale (on a 71-yard touchdown run). This week, the offense was sputtering and he made another big play to tie it up. For a freshman, that’s unbelievable.”
After getting the ball at the Pebblebrook 39 following a short punt to start the third quarter, the Warriors only needed six plays to take the lead as Tre Mason scored on an 11-yard run to go up 14-7.
However, even with the Falcons able to take advantage of a short field on both touchdowns, Pebblebrook’s physical defense dominated the Warriors for the entire game, holding North Atlanta for 101 yards.
“Just by the defense and not getting frustrated with the offense not executing the way we liked them to, I think it was huge of them showing their character just going out there fighting bad position all game long, “ said Hood. “It’s a true testament of a team effort.”