Staff Photo: John Bohn Grayson wide receiver Marcus Lindquist (84) catches a pass from quarterback Nick Schuessler, while covered by West Forsyth free safety Trevor Guthrie (8) during the third quarter of the state football playoff game played Friday in Grayson. Grayson defeated West Forsyth 33 to 7.
LOGANVILLE -- With less than two minutes left and no timeouts, Terrius Watson knew the plan.
The Grayson running back who relies on speed over brawn walked on the field ready for the Rams' two-minute offense. A spread attack they practice every week but rarely use against anyone other than the scout team.
"(Coach Mickey Conn) knew our spread offense was going to get it done the last two minutes," Watson said. "I was trying to come out here and make this (win) happen."
One minute, 41 seconds later, Watson broke into the end zone with the game's dagger of a drive and giving Grayson a 26-7 halftime lead as the Rams rolled to a 33-7 win over West Forsyth and into the state semifinals against Colquitt County. Grayson will host that game next Friday in a rematch of last year's semifinal, which was won by Colquitt.
Watson and the Rams' decisive drive Friday almost stopped before it started.
On third-and-4 from its own 23, Grayson lined up for a draw to Watson and the running back heard West Forsyth's defense recognize the play.
"I heard everybody, 'Draw, draw, draw!' and I thought, I am going to make it happen," Watson said. "Then the line opened it up and the quarterback gave me the ball and it was there. I was just excited."
Seventeen yards later, Grayson had a first down and the drive started rolling.
Quarterback Nick Schuessler hit Watson for 18 more yards, found Marcus Lindquist for 12 more and as the clocked ticked under 10 it was Watson again. A screen pass and Watson willed himself into the end zone six seconds before half.
"Terrius Watson is really key in that drive," Conn said. "He scores on that swing pass, just would not be denied and I can't say enough about his character and what he did.
"He played at another level tonight."
Of Grayson's five scoring drives, the half's final drive went for the most yards in the quickest time. Schuessler went 3 of 4 passing for 35 yards, Watson rushed for 18 yards and the Rams took advantage of a West Forsyth 15-yard penalty. It broke the game open and ended any hope for West Forsyth.
"It gave us a lot of momentum going in (to the locker room)," Conn said. "That was key."
Watson's score made him the lone Ram other than Robert Nkemdiche to find the end zone. The defensive end carried the ball seven times for 30 yards and four touchdowns, including the game's first three, all set up by special teams.
The first was a shallow punt returned to the Wolverines' 44 and turned into an 11-play, 5-minute, 39-second drive to start the scoring in the first quarter.
But West Forsyth answered the opening score with a special teams shock of its own when Jake Wieczorek returned the kickoff 63 yards to set the Wolverines up inside the Grayson 20. Three plays later, West Forsyth quarterback A.J. Erdley ran in from the 11 and after the made extra point the Wolverines led 7-6.
They forced a Grayson punt on three downs, but the booming kick by punter Austin Meadows was mishandled by senior Graham Bunting and the Rams' Shattle Fenteng recovered the fumble at the West Forsyth 14. Nkemediche punched in his second touchdown from 2 yards out and Grayson took the lead for good.
The next West Forsyth punt attempt was fumbled by the punter, setting the Rams up 22 yards from the end zone and five plays later Nkemdiche again eased into the end zone standing up.
Watson's score followed and after a quick West Forsyth possession to open the second half, Grayson finished the Wolverines off.
Schuessler hit Lindquist for 45 yards on a post route inside the 5 and Nkemdiche pounded in the game's final score.
"Nick can throw," Conn said. "He's really good."
Schuessler ended with 99 yards on 6 of 12 passing and one touchdown. Grayson spread the ball to five different running backs, Devin Gillespie leading the way with 51 yards on 11 carries. Wayne Gallman had 32 yards rushing and a stunning sack on defense chasing down a retreating quarterback, exploding into him before he could throw the ball away. It was one of eight sacks for a defense that allowed 101 total yards.
"They really run the wing-T well," Conn said of West Forsyth. "Our defense was fast and they play physical. Coach (Robert) Andrews and our defensive coaches do a really good job."