BETHLEHEM — The last time Loganville met Apalachee at R. Harold Harrison Stadium in Bethlehem, the Red Devils scored with three seconds left to prevail in an epic 45-42 thriller. Friday’s night’s sequel was almost as electrifying.
Loganville’s Darryl Giles sprinted 60 yards for a touchdown with 2:06 remaining in the game and Braxton Beck ran for the 2-point conversion as the Red Devils broke the hearts of the Apalachee (0-6, 0-4 Region 8-AAAAA) homecoming crowd with a stirring 29-21 come-from-behind victory.
“They just outcoached us in the second half,” said Apalachee head coach Shane Davis.
The first half offered no indication of what would follow. Apalachee’s Devonte Vinson returned the opening kickoff 51 yards to the Loganville 44-yard line. Four plays later Justin Skinner burst up the middle 11 yards for a TD to give the Wildcats their first lead of the year. Skinner extended their advantage to 14-0 midway through the second quarter when he carried a host of Red Devils into the end zone on another 11-yard TD run.
While Apalachee was amassing 229 total first half yards, the Wildcats defense was strangling the Loganville offense. The Red Devils (3-3, 2-2 Region 8-AAAAA), whose initial first down of the game came via a pass interference penalty with 36 seconds left in the second quarter, were held to 36 total first half yards.
“The defense played extremely well in the first half,” said Davis. “We moved the ball extremely well. We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties on a couple of drives and had a touchdown called back. Even though we were still up, it was definitely closer than we wanted it to be.”
After an exchange of TDs in the third quarter, Loganville mounted its comeback. Midway through the fourth quarter Royce Harrison connected with John Owen for a 66-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 21-14.
After forcing an Apalachee punt, Loganville faced third-and-3 at their own 40 yard line. Darryl Giles took a pitch and started to his right before reversing direction and racing 60 yards for a TD to pull the Red Devils within one point with 2:06 remaining in the game. After an Apalachee penalty on the extra point, Loganville head coach Eric Godfree decided to forego the tie. His gamble paid off when Braxton Beck ran for the 2-point conversion to give the Red Devils their first lead of the game 22-21.
Loganville’s Jessie Martin intercepted a late Apalachee desperation heave for a TD for the final margin.
Jody Mathis led Apalachee with 95 yards on 19 carries. Skinner added 69 yards on 12 carries and 2 TDs.
Loganville 0 0 7 22 ‹ 29
Apalachee 7 7 7 0 ‹ 21
Apalachee: Justin Skinner 11 run (Carlos Canelos kick) 10:09
Apalachee: Skinner 11 run (Canelos kick) 6:45
Loganville: Braxton Beck 4 run (Blake Salter kick) 8:21
Apalachee: Chance Rodriguez 1 run (Canelos kick) 0:57
Loganville: Josh Owen 66 pass from Royce Harrison (Salter kick) 5:20
Loganville: Darryl Giles 60 run (Beck run) 2:06
Loganville: Jesse Martin 60 int return (Salter kick) 0:21