WINDER - Following his team's eight-touchdown shutout by Apalachee last week, Winder-Barrow football coach Ben Corley lectured his team for only five minutes at the start of practice Monday, then said nothing more about it.
Apparently, a sixth minute was unneeded, as the Bulldoggs shook off by far their worst loss this season and summoned just enough emotion to outlast visiting Monroe Area, 48-41, on Friday.
"We were miserable in the moment, but we moved on with our business," Corley said. "We talked about moving on and not living in the past, which is the same thing we'd have done had we beaten Apalachee 56-0."
Winder-Barrow quarterback Christian Davila, who passed for a school-record 344 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to Habersham Central, captivated the home crowd a second consecutive time, this time throwing for 386 yards and five TDs, including 305 yards and four scores in the first half.
The agile junior took charge from the outset, tying the game 7-7 with a 1-yard scoring strike to Trent Demeritte, before targeting Demeritte on a 62-yarder for a 13-7 advantage. He also twice found Tyler Coleman for scores - once from 11 yards for a 26-13 lead, then on a 52-yarder for the decisive touchdown with 1:02 left. Alex Waters was on the receiving end of Davila's 10-yard TD toss for a 32-20 halftime margin.
"(Davila) finds the green space and puts the ball there," said Monroe coach Matthew Fligg. "As a team, Winder-Barrow's got a lot of weapons."
But even with heroics from Davila and five receivers, the Bulldoggs (2-4, 2-4) weren't out of the woods until 12 seconds remained. That's when Graham Galloway intercepted a pass with still winless Monroe (0-6, 0-6) on the move.
Monroe quarterback Demontavious Smith led the Hurricanes from a touchdown behind to tie 13-13 after a quarter, then from two touchdowns down to deadlock 41-41 with 1:36 to play. He did on foot what Davila did in the air, keeping the Hurricanes in contention with 73- and 70-yard touchdown runs of his own.
Corley has spoken all season of his Bulldoggs needing a spark, and beating Monroe might be just that, especially approaching region road games against Rockdale County and Salem.
"It's a general cohesion we're looking for on both sides of the football," he said, adding of still a mathematical chance at the playoffs, "We'll have to get hot for that to happen."