WINDER - After two years of frustration, Apalachee broke through to beat county rival Winder-Barrow 21-7 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
With the win the Wildcats capture the "Battle of Barrow trophy" and improve their record to 1-2 against all time against the Bulldoggs.
"I think we won the football game because of our defense, bottom line," Apalachee head coach Shane Davis said.
The Dale Sanders' victory bell sounded on Apalachee's field after the game while the Bulldogs boarded the bus back home.
"Apalachee was the toughest part. They came out and hit us in the mouth," said Bulldogg head coach Brian Allison. "Their players played hard and we did not do what we needed to do to win the ball game."
The game was a stark contrast compared to the two previous meetings in which Winder-Barrow dominated - 21-0 in 2004 and 30-7 last year.
After a scoreless first half, Apalachee got the scoring started with a 10-play touchdown drive. The score came when Randy Rutledge recovered teammate Quederious Deetion's fumble in the end zone.
The Bulldoggs struck back later in the quarter with a 1-yard run by Smith.
But the fourth quarter was all Apalachee as the Wildcats stuck to the running game highlighted by the trio of Deetion, Dwight Ashe and Ryan Danila to break the 7-7 deadlock.
"I thought we had a good night running the ball," said Davis.
Early in the fourth quarter Ashe put Apalachee ahead with a 15-yard TD run. Deetion sealed the game with a 3-yard touchdown run. Deetion lead all rushers with 144 yards on 21 carries.
"We worked hard and never stopped believing," Deetion said. "We knew that we could win."