Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan -- South Gwinnett celebrates their victory 42-38 victory over Brookwood during the Battle of Snellville in high school football action at Brookwood High School in Snellville on Friday.
HIGHLIGHTS: South Gwinnett vs. Brookwood
Highlights from the South Gwinnett vs. Brookwood football game in which the Comets defeated the Broncos 42-38.
SNELLVILLE --It was a spot where many South Gwinnett football teams of the past had failed, down by two scores in the fourth quarter at Brookwood.
But that history, only four wins in the previous 28 meetings with their Snellville rivals, didn't matter much to the current Comets.
South scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, including Jordan Ramey's game-winning score with 3:03 left, and got a game-clinching interception from Nicholas Hylton for a 42-38 comeback victory over the Broncos in a key Region 8-AAAAAA matchup.
"To win in that fashion, the kids showed a lot of resiliency," South head coach John Small said. "Obviously our history over there hasn't been the greatest. But that has nothing to do with the 2012 team. We told our kids, our team is 0-0 against this team. ... The kids fought their butts off in the second half. They were hungry to win that ball game."
Brookwood went up 38-28 early in the fourth quarter when Ky Priester (six catches, 155 yards) caught his school-record fourth TD pass, but the Comets weren't finished.
Ramey threw a 40-yard scoring strike to Coray Keel with 7:02 remaining, then the South defense forced its second straight three-and-out out and set up the offense at the Comets' 44-yard line with 4:51 left. Ramey hit Tyrone Atchison for back-to-back passes of 14 and 25 yards to spark a six-play, game-winning drive capped by Ramey's 4-yard TD run.
Ramey did most of his damage with his passing, though, completing 19 of 33 passes for 382 yards and four TDs, including two to Bernard Morrison (who also rushed for a TD) and one to L.J. Gainey.
"It's not really a surprise to us (to win)," Ramey said. "We knew we were going to win these games. You have to have that level of confidence."
Brookwood quickly got back into scoring position with a 34-yard pass from Zach Moon (260 passing yards) to Jamaal Cole, who had four catches for 105 yards and also rushed for 78. The Broncos reached the South 31-yard line but the Comets' Reggie Carter sacked Moon on third-and-eight.
On fourth-and-13, Hylton intercepted Moon and allowed South to run out the clock.
"We've only beat them four times before, so this is the best feeling in the world," South senior linebacker Anthony Beck said. "The coaches have (beat Brookwood) before, but we haven't so we finally get our moment."
South's defense, torched in a first half that saw the Comets trailing 31-21, played much better over the final two quarters. Cole and Josh Brown combined for 132 rushing yards, but between sacks, bad snap exchanges and the like Moon had seven negative-yardage plays that left him with minus-38 rushing yards.
Eventually, the Comets (7-2, 6-1) finally found a way to slow down the passing of Brookwood (6-3, 5-2).
Meanwhile, an injury-riddled Bronco defense struggled with South's attack, which scored on three of its first four possessions for a 21-7 lead before a 24-point second quarter gave Brookwood the halftime lead.
Ramey spread the ball around to a handful of receivers as Keel (five catches, 162 yards), Gainey (six catches, 92 yards) and Morrison (five catches, 78 yards) all had big nights. Josh Boyd added 73 rushing yards and Morrison ran for 43.
"We're banged up on defense and we had a bunch of guys in there playing hard, but we were shorthanded on defense and we couldn't stop them," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said. "I don't think we've ever scored 38 points and lost before."
The victory relegates Crews' team to a lower seed for the upcoming state playoffs, with Grayson left to play in next week's regular-season finale. Meanwhile, South saw its chances of a home-playoff game improve dramatically.
The Comets can earn at least a No. 2 seed by beating Parkview next Friday, but they could also win the region championship if Brookwood manages to upset Grayson, too.
For awhile in the fourth quarter Friday night, it didn't look like they would be in that situation. But they never gave up against their longtime rivals.
"We told our kids before the game, regardless of what happens, good or bad, we're going to win the game," Small said. "Our kids believed that they were going to win the game from the get-go."