And for the second time in as many games, it came down to the Grizzlies’ final possession.
Kyle Wilkie connected with Dawson Ewers on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 7 seconds left, and Creekview beat Forsyth Central 21-17 on Friday to clinch its second straight Region 7AAAAA (A) title.
“We practice that on Wednesdays, so we know we can do it,” Creekview coach Terry Crowder said of the team’s success with the 2-minute drill. “But we can’t keep doing this. It ain’t gonna hold
up. I’m proud that we did it, but I’m still not happy that we had to do it.”
After hosting North Springs next week, Creekview (6-2, 4-0) will close out the regular season Nov. 8, hosting the No. 4 team from the opposing subregion — either Sprayberry or Osborne — with
a state playoff berth going to the winner.
The final drive was necessary after Forsyth Central (1-7, 1-3) finally made a play in the fourth quarter.
Deep in his own territory, Bulldogs quarterback Michael Branigan escaped pressure from Creekview’s Nick Fahrnbauer in the backfield and sprinted up the middle. His 49-yard run with just 4 minutes left in the game lifted the spirit of the crowd. Seven plays later, Jake Gorczyca barreled into the end zone, putting Forsyth Central up 17-14 with 1:20 left.
“First thing coach Crowder told us was, ‘Nobody panic,’” Creekview running back Isaiah Rodgers said. “We just had to stay calm, drive down the field and do what we do.”
Rodgers finished with 147 yards rushing, but none came on the last drive.
Wilkie, the Grizzlies’ sophomore quarterback, set up in the spread offense and picked the Forsyth Central defense apart, completing three first downs before spiking the ball to stop the clock with less than a minute left.
“Throughout the season, he’s gotten so much better,” Rodgers said. “I’m really proud of him. Unlike a (typical) sophomore, he stays calm and plays like a veteran.”
Wilkie took what the Bulldogs’ defense gave him, hitting Connor Dulmage on out patterns as the
clock winded down. After a short run by Rodgers, Wilkie hit Ewers on a slant for a 5-yard touchdown — a play that both encouraged and infuriated Crowder.
“We did not play well offensively (Friday). I’m not happy with our football team right now,” Crowder
said. “We did not have a good week of practice, and it’s going to come back and bite us.
“So we’re going to go back to work next week and get this fixed.”
Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Creekview’s offense looked fixed with an efficient 12-play drive led by Rodgers and capped by a perfect post route by Connor Dulmage for a 24-yard touchdown
from Wilkie. On the next possession, Ewers returned an interception 46 yards for a 14-7 halftime lead that few were truly happy with.
“We just have to get better mentally — put a little more effort in practice, so we can practice like we
play,” Rodgers said. “This week, we did practice like we played, which was not very good.
“We’ve got to switch up some things and we’ll be good.”