SNELLVILLE -- Central Gwinnett's Malachi Jones scored two first-half touchdowns and broke the all-time Gwinnett County single-season record for receptions, the Black Knights defense stifled Shiloh in the second half and Central beat Shiloh 33-26 Friday night at Shiloh Community Stadium.
Jones had six receptions, giving him 73 for the season and breaking the all-time record of 72 catches. He caught TD passes of 82 and 20 yards in the first half, and finished with 124 yards.
"The first half was the Malachi Jones' show and in the second half, our defense had one good series after another," said Central head coach Todd Wofford. "We were able to pound the ball on the ground after halftime and, for the first time all year, we didn't turn the ball over."
The first half was a shootout, with each team scoring three TDs. Shiloh jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, driving 80 yards in only seven plays on the game's opening possession, and scoring again on a 65-yard Donald Clark punt return.
But Central (4-5, 2-5) used its passing game to score TDs on its next three possessions and tie the game at 20-20 at halftime. After Shiloh's second TD, Central quarterback Eman Westmoreland hit Jones for an 82-yard bomb to close the gap to 14-6.
The Black Knights forced Shiloh (2-8, 2-6) to punt on its next possession, and then drove 77 yards to tie the game at 14. Westmoreland, who connected on 12 of 15 passes for 169 yards in the first half, hit Louis McGee three times for 12, 18 and 14 yards before George Morris scored from the 1.
Shiloh's Justin Martin, who rushed for 206 yards on 24 carries, answered with a 65-yard TD run to give the Generals a 20-14 lead. But Central's Adam Riley returned the ensuing kickoff to the Generals' 7, and after a holding call, Westmoreland found Jones for a 20-yard TD to tie the game.
Central running back Morris and Black Knights defense controlled the second half. Morris ran for 131 yards on 14 carries in the half, including a spectacular 58-yard TD where he escaped several tacklers going down the left sideline to give Central a 27-20 lead late in the third period.
Shiloh responded early in the fourth quarter with a 65-yard drive, capped by Kyle Hill's 1-yard TD run, but the extra point was blocked. Central punched back once more, driving 77 yards for a TD on its next possession, with Westmoreland throwing a 4-yard scoring toss to Daniel Louis.
Shiloh was unable to move the ball effectively on its final two possessions. Central's Josh Marshall intercepted a DeVante James pass with three minutes to play. Though the Generals forced Central to punt, they could muster only one first down on the final possession of the game before giving up the ball on down.
Westmoreland completed 17 of 25 passes for 189 yards and 3 TDs and Morris finished with 160 yards on 19 carries and two TDs.