Falcons lock up playoff spot

Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Rocky Capobianco (5) gets tripped up as he dives for extra yardage in front of Archer's Ernest Alexander (8) during Friday night's game at Dacula.

Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Rocky Capobianco (5) gets tripped up as he dives for extra yardage in front of Archer's Ernest Alexander (8) during Friday night's game at Dacula.


Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Davian McEwan (17) and Alex Armah (21) celebrate Davian's catch for a touchdown against Archer during Friday night's game at Dacula.

DACULA -- The Region 8-AAAAA playoff race is far from settled, but Dacula took one more step in making sure it will be a part of the postseason.

Using a strong defense and big offensive night from Rocky Capobianco and Marcus Cox, the Falcons posted a 38-15 homecoming win over Archer on Friday night.

Although the final seedings are still up in the air, Friday's win guaranteed Dacula (5-3, 5-1) will get one of the four playoff spots to come out of the region.

"We're playing really good team football right now," Dacula head coach Jared Zito said. "That's what Dacula has always done and will have to continue to do to compete in this region."

The Falcons jumped on the Tigers early with a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, while tacking on 10 more points in the second period for a 24-0 halftime lead.

The first of those TDs came on a quick out from quarterback Brandon Goodson to Cox, who shook off a Tiger defender at the line and broke loose for 33-yard score.

"To be honest, I thought they had me," Cox said. "When I got loose, I was trying to get the first down and wound up scoring."

Goodson again led Dacula to the end zone late in the period when he hooked up with Davian McEwan across the middle for a 30-yard strike, extending the lead to 14-0. Goodson, who shared signal-calling duties with Capiobianco, did most of his damage through the air, compeleting 4 of 9 passes for 79 yards with two TDs and an interception.

With Goodson handling most of the passing duties, Capobianco used his legs, gaining 162 yards on 19 carries with two TDs. His last two carries in the fourth quarter were his biggest, putting the game out of reach with two scores.

The first of those was a 25-yard scamper, while his last went for 51 yards with 1:51 left.

Cox also added another TD on special teams in the second quarter, picking up a rolling punt and eluding tacklers for a 58-yard return.

"Those two guys get a lot of accolades and deservedly so," Zito said of Cox and Capobianco. "But they would be the first to tell you their success comes from the team. They will always be the first to thank guys up front."

Trailing 24-0 at the half, Archer fought back in the third quarter with a pair of field goals from Zach Waccholz from 32 and 29 yards. Those two possessions could have been worse for Dacula as the Tigers had first-and-goal with each one, but the Falcon defense kept the Tigers out of the end zone to force the field goals.

Wachholz added his third field goal of the night in the fourth quarter, this time from 22 yards out. That scoring possession was set up by a John Gillis interception, returning it to the Falcon 10-yard line.

But like on the other two trips inside the 10, the Tigers were denied the touchdown and had to settle for just three points. Wachholz's last field goal cut the score to 24-9 with 9:47 left to play, but Capiobianco's 25-yard TD run on the ensuing possession gave Dacula the cushion it needed at 31-9 with 5:11 to play.

Archer wouldn't go away and drove 79 yards on nine plays on the ensuing possession, finally getting a TD on a 2-yard pass frmo Jarvis Holley to John Okoye with 2:-2 to play. Holley finished with 112 yards and one TD on 10 of 21 attempts.

Archer attempted an onsides kick but failed, and Capobianco put the game out of reach on the next play with his 51-yard TD run up the middle.

"This was a solid win against a good opponent," Zito said. "We got a little sloppy in the third quarter but I'm proud of how we responded in the fourth."