LOGANVILLE — A game in which both teams were desperately seeking their first Region 8-AAAAA win of the season, Apalachee defeated Loganville 35-28 on Friday.
"This was a huge, huge, huge win for us," said Wildcat head coach Shane Davis. "Our kids have shown a lot of heart and character after facing a lot of adversity this year. We are not used to losing, so as a team we better start finding ways like this to win."
Loganville (1-5) opened the scoring on its first drive of the game as quarterback Royce Harrison broke loose on fourth down and scampered 37 yards for the touchdown. The score gave Loganville an early 7-0 first-quarter lead.
Apalachee answered by scoring on its opening possession as well. Kyle Jackson scored on an 8-yard run capping a nine-play drive to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Apalachee (2-4) scored again on its next possession as Eric Tanner scored on an 11-yard run following an interception by Alantae Billings. The score gave Apalachee its first lead of the night at 14-7 with 11:25 remaining in the second quarter.
Loganville fought back to tie the game as Braxton Beck scored on a 14-yard touchdown run. The scoring drive covered 61 yards in six plays.
The Wildcats quickly got back on the board as Zay Henry scored on an 8-yard touchdown run. The drive was spearheaded by a 63-yard sprint from Tanner. The score gave Apalachee the lead again at 21-14 with 7:39 left in the second quarter.
The Red Devils scored on their next possession when Braxton Beck scampered 25 yards for the score. The point after attempt failed leaving Loganville trailing 21-20 with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter.
Following a defensive stand, Loganville took over at the Wildcat 48-yard line with only 1:45 remaining on the clock before halftime. Bernard Merriweather's 5-yard touchdown run with only 17 seconds left before halftime gave the Red Devils the lead again 28-21.
The Apalachee offensive line took control of the game early in the second half as Tanner scored on an 8-yard run, tying the game at 28-28.
"Our line opened up huge holes for us all night," Tanner said.
The Wildcats scored the winning touchdown as quarterback Clint Ashe connected with Jermaine Smith on a 19-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats the lead at 35-28. The time-consuming scoring drive covered 58 yards in 16 plays.
"When you are struggling defensively, you just can't have the turnovers and penalties," said Loganville head coach Eric Godfree, a Parkview grad. "We just have to continue to work on those things. Our kids gave us everything they had tonight. There is one thing that I never have to worry about and that is our kids giving up."
Tanner finished the game for Apalachee with 188 yards rushing on 22 carries.