Alpharetta Rallies to Defeat Centennial 32-26
Raiders score winning touchdown with 46 seconds left in the game.
On a cold, rain soaked night, the Alpharetta Raiders managed a 32-26 comeback victory over their Region 6-AAAAA rivals, the Centennial Knights.
The Raiders, who trailed until the final minute, won on a touchdown pass from Joshua Dobbs to Jalen Simmons with 43 seconds remaining in the game.
With the win, the Raiders (8-1 overall, 5-0 in Region 6-AAAAA) sewed up the region championship with one regular-season game remaining. West Forsyth (9-1, 4-1) concluded its season with a 35-16 win over Roswell Friday and will finish second. Even if Alpharetta unexpectedly falls to North Forsyth next week it would still win the region title due to a head-to-head tiebreaker over West Forsyth.
Centennial fell to 4-5, 3-2, but remains in third place in the region and in good shape to reach the playoffs.
The first quarter Friday was all Centennial. The Knights went up 6-0 when quarterback Jimmy Meyer took the ball in from three yards out to cap the opening drive. The attempt for the extra point was blocked. Moments later, Centennial defensive back Matt Deshong intercepted an Alpharetta pass and ran it in for a touchdown from 30 yards, giving the Knights a 12-0 first-period advantage. Centennial's attempt at a two-point conversion failed.
On its first possession of the second quarter, Centennial once again mounted a drive which resulted in a touchdown. This time the two-point conversion was successful and the Knights found themselves up 20-0 with 9:55 left in the half.
Alpharetta finally got on the scoreboard with a field goal by Lehman Howington at the 6:36 mark of the second quarter. Centennial answered with another drive, this time capped by a touchdown pass to running back Zietrich Smith. But once again the attempt for the extra point failed.
The Raiders responded by taking the kickoff and driving the length of the field and picking up six points when Simmons dove in to the end zone with 58 seconds left in the half. The attempt for the extra point was missed.
Centennial 26-9 at halftime
Early in the third quarter, Alpharetta scored on a quarterback keeper by Dobbs, followed by yet another failed extra point attempt. Alpharetta held Centennial on its next possession, forcing a punt that was blocked into the end zone. Knight quarterback Meyer wisely batted the ball through the end zone giving up two points, rather than risking the chance of the Raiders falling on it for a touchdown.
When the dust settled the Raiders had closed to within nine points at 26-17.
Following the safety, momentum shifted to Alpharetta.
The Raiders took the free kick following the safety, drove down field and scored again when Dobbs passed to Carlos Burse, who took it in from three yards out. This time, the extra point was successful and the Raiders had closed to within two points at 26-24.
Centennial was unable to mount another drive and was forced to punt the ball back to the Raiders. With a little over three minutes remaining in the game, Alpharetta began to methodically move the ball down field.
With 43 seconds remaining, Dobbs connected with Simmons who ran the ball in for the go-ahead touchdown. A successful two-point conversion followed and Alpharetta took their first lead of the game at 32-26.
Time ran out before Centennial could score again giving Alpharetta the come from behind victory.