Staff Photo: John Bohn South Gwinnett quarterback Jordan Ramey (2) scores a touchdown as Archer defenders Duane Lee (48) and Deondre Singleton (3) defend, during the third quarter of Friday's game.
SNELLVILLE -- Trailing 14-7 and facing a fourth-and-14, South Gwinnett dropped back to pass against Archer.
Quarterback Jordan Ramey looked down field and as the pocket collapsed took off. With a big hole Ramey needed to make one player miss and the Archer defender in his way hit the ground, not the quarterback.
"It was a turning point," Ramey said.
The next play Bernard Morrison fell into the end zone to tie the game at 14-14.
"It changed the momentum of the game," South head coach John Small said.
All the momentum fell to South and the Comets never gave it back, scoring 28 points in the second half to take down Archer 42-14 and clinch at least a berth in the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
"It's good to be back in," said Small, whose Comets (6-2, 5-1 Region 8-AAAAAA) finished last season 3-7. "We are not done yet. We have two game left. We have to go back to work and continue getting better."
Lost in the 42 points, Ramey's 146 yards passing and Bernard Morrison's 113 yards receiving and 40 rushing yards was the impact of the Comets' defense. Of South's six touchdowns, only two of the scoring drives began on its side of the field.
The Comets took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on a dive that started inside the 10 after Colton Nash picked off Archer's Gabe Tiller. Their first two scoring drives of the third quarter started on the Archer 2 and 24 after a Anthony Beck recovered a fumble and picked off a pass on consecutive drives. In total, the South defense limited Archer (6-3, 4-3 region) to 235 yards, two touchdown drives, both in the second quarter and it forced three turnovers on downs to go with the two picks and the fumble recovery.
And they did it all without defensive coordinator Cory Dickerson, who left the stadium at 5:30 when his wife went into labor.
"Our kids played their guts out tonight for Coach Dickerson. We hope everything goes well for them tonight," Small said. "The kids played hard tonight. They always play hard, but they had a good little edge about them tonight. That was a win for Coach Dickerson tonight and his family."
After the opening touchdown, the defense had its small lapse, allowing Archer to score on two straight possessions and take a 14-7 lead.
Archer returned the kickoff to the 48-yard line and drove 52 yards in eight plays, seven on the ground, setting up Fowler's first touchdown of the night.
After forcing a South turnover on a fumble, Archer again drove 52 yards to take a 14-7 lead. The go-ahead drive took five plays and ended with Fowler sprinting in from 8 yards out. Fowler rushed for 50 of his 111 yards in the first half.
But that's when South tied the game with one of its two 80-yard drives, highlighted by Ramey's fourth-down run. On the drive, South took advantage of two 15-yard Archer penalties. On South's other 80-yard drive, Archer gave the Comets 15 yards with a face mask after Ramey found Morrison for a 22-yard completion on third-and-7.
Morrison caught seven of Ramey's 12 completions as the South quarterback spread the ball to four different receivers.
"I have the best four in the county," Ramey said. "I trust all four of my receivers."B