The Sonoraville Phoenix welcomed the undefeated Haralson County Rebels to The Furnace on Friday night, seeking to earn a huge region win in their sixth game of the season. Haralson and their powerful rushing attack had different plans.
The Rebels’ ball-control offense dominated time of possession, emerging victorious 32-20, as Sonoraville (3-3, 2-2 region) only had five offensive drives in the game.
Haralson County (6-0, 4-0 in region) received the ball to start the game, and their run-heavy offense looked unstoppable on an opening drive that bled five minutes off the clock and did not include a single passing play. In fact, the Rebels did not attempt a pass the entire game. Haralson quarterback Clay Hyatt capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, quickly followed by a successful 2-point conversion on a quarterback sneak.
Haralson’s defense forced a three-and-out on the next drive and scored on their second offensive series. Then, after another solid drive, Hyatt scored his second touchdown (four total) of the night on a 5-yard run. Haralson went for two again and converted again to make the score 16-0 with 9:06 left in the second quarter.
The game seemed on the verge of getting out of hand, but the Sonoraville offense settled down. Phoenix head coach Denver Pate made a gutsy decision to go for it on fourth down on Sonoraville’s own 45-yard line, and it ultimately paid off as the Phoenix not only converted but later put six on the board, as quarterback Brady Lackey kept it himself and ploughed into the end zone from a yard out.
“We were down 16-0,” Pate said, regarding the early lead by Haralson. “We’ve been down 31-0. I knew these kids weren’t going to quit. They were going to fight all night.”
Sonoraville went for two after the score but failed. Then, on the next drive for the Haralson offense, Hyatt coughed up the football, and the Phoenix recovered the ball on the Rebels 40-yard line.
That set up Lackey minutes later to hit Colton Richards for an 18-yard touchdown pass with seconds to go in the first half to narrow the score to only a three-point lead for Haralson (16-13) going into halftime.
The Phoenix promptly scored on the first drive of the third quarter, as Blade Bryant ran it in from one yard out. However, the rest of the second half was all Haralson County, as the Rebels ate up huge chunks off the clock and scored twice more on runs of 45 and 11 by Hyatt to make the final score 32-20 (two more successful 2-point conversions).
“We did a good job of getting back in the football game to take the lead in the third,” Pate said. “We had five possessions all night. (We) didn’t capitalize on two of them. That’s your football game.”
The Phoenix prepare for a road contest at Adairsville next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.