SNELLVILLE - Middle linebacker Trae Scott's game-saving interception at the goal line with 19 seconds left means Berkmar is alive and kicking for a playoff spot out of Region 8-AAAAA.
With Shiloh at Berkmar's 3-yard line and no timeouts remaining, Scott intercepted the first pass of his high school football career to preserve a 26-21 victory Friday night at Shiloh Community Stadium. The play snuffed out Shiloh's fourth-quarter comeback bid to win its first region game this year.
After starting its final possession at the Berkmar 41 with 2:57 to play, Shiloh rushed the ball six straight times and also received 15 more yards after a Berkmar personal foul. But without a timeout, Scott said he anticipated a pass play and stepped in front of a receiver to snag Shiloh sophomore quarterback Mark Wright's final throw.
"I figured they were going to pass," said Scott, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior. "Their wingback went in motion, so before the snap, I shuffled to my left and I was in the correct position when the pass was thrown."
Said Berkmar head coach Wendell Early: "It was a great play by a great, young kid."
Early, while relieved at the victory, admitted that the Patriots were fortunate to win the game.
"Shiloh deserved to win this game," he said. "We were hanging on for dear life."
Berkmar (5-1, 2-1 region) led throughout the game, even though Shiloh ran 40 plays to Berkar's 14 in the first half. The Patriots made several big plays to set up two touchdowns and take a 14-7 lead at halftime.
A fake punt set up quarterback T.J. Smith's 23-yard TD run.
Shiloh (1-5, 0-3) tied the game in the second quarter when Wright threw a 43-yard scoring strike to Reuben Lacy for the Generals' first score. Wright started in place of senior quarterback Ira Johnson, who was suspended.
But Berkmar regained the momentum when junior Kadeem Wise returned the ensuing kickoff to the Shiloh 5-yard line. Following two penalties, wide receiver Isaiah Jupiter took a pitch and scampered 11 yards on a reverse for the TD.
Berkmar extended its lead to 20-7 in the third period when a Shiloh punt snap was high, setting up Richard Walker's 14-yard TD run.
Shiloh countered with a 36-yard burst early in the fourth period by fullback Chaz Johnson, cutting the deficit to six points, but Berkmar utilized its speed to score again on its next possession. A 38-yard run by Walker set up a 5-yard TD run by J.J. Harbin, pushing Berkmar's lead to 26-14.
Shiloh needed less than two minutes to score its second TD of the fourth quarter, this time on Wright's second TD pass of the game, a 29-yarder to wide receiver Emanuel Wingard.
Shiloh's Chaz Johnson led all running backs with 99 yards on 14 carries and Wright completed 6 of 13 passes for 78 yards and one interception. Berkmar quarterback Smith had 56 yards on six carries and completed 8 of 12 passes for 50 yards.
-Berkmar: T.J. Smith 23 run (David Gutierrez kick) 3:10
-Shiloh: Reuben Lacy 43 pass from Mark Wright (Ernst Brun kick) 9:59
-Berkmar: Isaiah Jupiter 11 run (Gutierrez kick) 7:32
-Berkmar: Richard Walker 14 run (kick blocked) 6:12
-Shiloh: Chaz Johnson 36 run (Brun kick) 10:38
Berkmar: J.J. Harbin 5 run (pass failed) 8:05
-Shiloh: Emanuel Wingard 29 pass from Wright (Brun kick) 5:53