SNELLVILLE - Senior quarterback Brent Snell was a triple threat for South Gwinnett on Friday night, running for two touchdowns, passing for another and making a critical punt as the Comets nipped Shiloh 26-20 to stay alive for a playoff spot in Region 8-AAAAA.
Snell keyed a 16-point second quarter for South, giving the Comets a 16-7 lead that they never relinquished.
The senior tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Aaron Jividen for the Comets' first score and ran two yards for a TD just before the end of the half. In between, his 49-yard punt pinned Shiloh on its own 3 and led to a safety when senior defensive lineman Xavier Gary tackled Shiloh quarterback Ira Johnson in the end zone.
The Comets (4-4, 3-2) play Berkmar next week in a critical Region 8-AAAAA game.
"It was huge win for us and keeps us in control of our own playoff destiny," South head coach John Small said. "Brent did what he had to do to get the job done. We don't do anything easy, but we found a way to win."
Shiloh coach Nick Davis said the Generals lost their composure in the second period.
"The game got away from us after the safety," Davis said. "We talked at halftime about needing a big play to get back in the game, and we did that. But this is a tough region, and you can't make mistakes."
Snell scored his second TD on a 6-yard run on South's first possession of the second half, giving the Comets a 23-7 lead, and it looked like South would cruise to victory.
Johnson had one of his best quarters of the season, throwing for one TD and running for another within a four-minute span. He found Robert Hodge alone for a 58-yard pass play, then ran 55 yards for a TD down the left sideline on Shiloh's next possession, pulling the Generals to within three points at 23-20.
Neither team could apply the knockout punch after Johnson's run. South drove into Shiloh territory late in the third period, but a halfback pass by Rico Brazil was intercepted by Shiloh's star defensive back Marcus Archie. It was the senior's sixth of the season.
The Generals (2-6, 1-4) had two more drives to try to win the game, but both ended with interceptions. Johnson moved Shiloh to the South 36 midway through the final period, but the Comets' Derek Brown intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the Shiloh 29. Three plays later, Brandon Hamilton kicked a 33-yard field goal to extend South's lead by six points.
Shiloh began its final drive with 3:02 to play, but it chewed up nearly two minutes to make a first down on four running plays. With a little more than one minute to play at its own 45, another Johnson pass was intercepted, this time by Ian Graves, to end Shiloh's hopes.
Snell completed 7 of 16 passes for 119 yards and ran for 58 yards on 11 carries. Johnson completed 4 of 13 passes for 88 yards but had two intercepted. He was also the game's leading rusher with 168 yards on 21 carries.
Shiloh: Chaz Johnson 15 run (Ernst Brun kick) :18
South: Aaron Jividen 21 pass from Brent Snell (Brandon Hamilton kick) 10:44
South: Safety, Ira Johnson tackled in end zone by Xavier Gary 2:16
South: Snell 2 run (Hamilton kick) :50
South: Snell 6 run (Hamilton kick) 9:11
Shiloh: Robert Hodge 58 pass from Ira Johnson (Brun kick) 8:59
Shiloh: Ira Johnson 55 run (kick failed) 5:20
South: Hamilton 33 FG, 3:02