Norcross - On senior night at Wesleyan, East Hall spoiled valiant comeback efforts by seniors Tony Plagman and Bobby Jackson to diminish the Wolves' hopes for a playoff berth.
East Hall (5-3, 4-2) dominated the first half only to give way to a Wesleyan (4-4-1, 4-3) offensive explosion in the second. In the end, the Vikings survived on a missed extra point.
"We've been plagued all season by slow first halves, but we've been talented enough to come back in the second," said Wesleyan head coach Philip Deas. "This time, East Hall was just too talented for that to happen."
Coming out of the halftime with a 21-7 deficit, the Wolves' held and promptly scored on the first possession.
The Viking punter pinned Wesleyan at its own 3-yard line. Plagman completed a 40-yard pass to Peter Karempelis to bring the Wolves near midfield. Ten plays later, Plagman was diving into the end-zone for a 2-yard TD. Karempelis' kick sailed wide right, leaving the score at 21-13.
On its next two drives, Wesleyan scored nine more points on the legs of Jackson and the arm of Plagman to go up by one.
Karempelis scored on a 3-yard run with 1:30 left in the third. The conversion attempt failed. He then kicked a 23-yard go-ahead field goal just over three minutes into the fourth quarter.
Wesleyan's defense again withstood the athletic East Hall offense and got the ball back at its own 49 with 7:18 left in the game.
Two plays later, the Wolves were first-and-goal on the Viking 9-yard line, but they could not convert and turned the ball over on downs.
The Vikings returned to their first-half offensive form and drove the length of the field to score on a Lee Coleman TD pass to Walter Hill. After a successful two-point conversion, the Vikings led 29-22.
The Wesleyan fans watched as Plagman led his team on a 68-yard touchdown drive, completing 3-of-5 passes for 57 yards and a TD. But their were broken as Karempelis missed his second PAT.
Even with the missed extra points, Karempelis' performance helped make the Wesleyan comeback possible. The senior had 3 catches for 88 yards, a touchdown run and a field goal in the second-half comeback.
"He was suffering from a deep thigh bruise from the Buford game and was out of practice until Wednesday," said Deas. "Something like that happening to him is unfortunate because he's one of the greatest all-around kids we have."
The Vikings ran the remaining 47 seconds out to end the game with a 29-28 victory.
After swapping ineffective drives to open the game, East Hall put together a 7-play drive, ending in a Lee Coleman to Antoine Footman 3-yard touchdown pass to put the Vikings
Wesleyan was able to answer on the ensuing drive as Tony Plagman completed 6-of-6 passes for 68 yards, including a 15-yard TD to Adam Johnson. Karempelis' kick knotted up the score at 7-7.
But in the second quarter, it was all East Hall. Wesleyan did not have an answer for the athleticism of East Hall quarterback Coleman, who was 13-of-18 for 170 yards in the first half. Keith McCrary wrapped up two Viking drives with TD runs of three yards and one yard, respectively.
Momentum was in East Hall's favor and the game seemed out of reach as the Wolves went into the half down 21-7.
Plagman was 23 of 35, for 261 yards and two TDs, and also ran for a third. Jackson led the Wolves in rushing with 145 yards on 21 carries. James Ramsey added 49 yards on 6 catches.