The Milton Eagles led the South Gwinnett Comets in almost every stat – time of possession, total yards, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions and even Red Zone scoring chances. What they couldn't do in Friday night's first round playoff game is to lead in the stat that counts – scoring. The visiting Eagles lost at Snellville, with the Comets advancing to the second round on their 27-20 win.
South Gwinnett took the opening kickoff and was driving in Milton territory when a fumble cost them the possession, according to stats provided by Bill Berry. But what seemed like momentum for the Eagles ended when the drive stalled and the Comets got the ball back after a punt. It was the first of 14 punts in the game, with each team's punter being called upon 7 times.
The Comets took six plays to score their first touchdown on a Josh Boyd 2-yard run. With the PAT kick it was 7-0 South Gwinnett.
The two teams traded possessions four times before South Gwinnett struck again, this time on an 80-yard pass from Jordan Ramey to Coray Keel. With a kick by Mattias Yonas, the score was 14-10.
Milton finally put some points on the scoreboard early in the second quarter at the end of an 11 play, 52-yard drive. Chris Mills kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 14-3.
But South Gwinnett came back a minute later with another touchdown on a 28-yard run by Travon Davis. A failed point after kick left the score at 20-3.
With 59 seconds left in the half, the Eagles scored at the end of a 7-play, 53-yard drive. Eric Abbott took a pass from A.J. Bush 17 yards into the end zone and with another Mills PAT kick Milton was down 20-10.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the comets weren't done scoring in the half. They took just 29 seconds to drive 54 yards after the kickoff. B. Morrison rushed the last four yards into the end zone and Yonas added the point after, taking the score to 27-10 at the end of the half.
Milton's defense kept the Comets out of the end zone for the rest of the game, but the offense fell short. A.J. Bush added another touchdown on a 1-yard run in the third quarter, and Mills put up a 20-yard field goal in the fourth. But that 10 points added to the scoreboard fell short.
The Eagles Peyton Barber led all players with 185 all purpose yards, a mix of runs, receptions and kickoff returns. The Comets Coray Keel was next with 129 all prupose yards, but all of his were from receiving.
Milton had 20 first downs to South Gwinnett's 10 and 225 net yards rushing to the Comets' 29. But the Eagles trailed in passing yards, managing 108 yards to South Gwinnett's 242. The Eagles' total offense of 333 yards compared to 272 yards by the Comets wasn't apparent by the score. Nor were the 81 total offensive plays vs. 44 by the Comets. But the home team averaged 6.2 yards gained per play to the Eagles 4.1. Time of possession was 29:21 for the Eagles and 18:39 for the Comets.
South Gwinnett will face Norcross in the second round of the playoffs. The Chattahoochee Cougars lost to Norcross 34-0 in their first round playoff game.
It was not a good night for North Fulton teams, which all lost in the first round:
- Milton lost to South Gwinnett, 27-20
- Chattahoochee lost to Norcross, 34-0
- Johns Creek lost to North Gwinnett, 49-19
- Alpharetta lost to Mill Creek, 41-39