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December 7, 2013

Blocked point after dooms Irwin County

TIFTON — Extra points are not automatic in football.

The Irwin County Indians proved that Friday night in the Class A public school state semifinals against the Charlton County Indians.

A missed extra point and a blocked extra point turned out to be differences in the ball game as Charlton emerged with a 34-33 victory. Charlton advanced with the win to face the Marion County Eagles — 40-7 winners over Hawkinsville in the other state semi — for the public school state championship Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Georgia Dome.

Leading 28-21 going into the fourth quarter, the Charlton Tribe appeared on the way to winning the game.

About the mid point of the final stanza, Charlton forced an Irwin punt. Irwin freshman Ty Hogan downed the ball at the Charlton 2. The Ocilla Tribe stiffened and forced a punt that was downed at the Irwin 47 with 5:27 left in the game.

Three plays later, Irwin’s Antwuane Merritt broke through the middle of the field for a 35 yard touchdown. However, Eric Contreras missed the point after and Irwin was still down by a 28-27 score with 4:34 left.

An onsides kick attempt by Irwin failed and Charlton’s Andrew Lee scored the final of his four touchdowns of the night from 43 yards out with 3:17 left. However, Irwin blocked the Charlton point after and the score was 34-27.

Irwin misplayed the ensuing kickoff and took the ball back over at its own 5 yard line.

After a 7 yard run by Robert Moore and a 9 yard pass reception from Kyle Posey to Moore, Ryan Peterson broke loose with a 54 yard run to the Charlton 21.

The Indians steadily drove and finally on a 4th and goal play from the 3, Merritt scored with only 4 seconds left on the clock. But, the late game heroics ended when Charlton blocked Contreras’ point after for the win.

Charlton’s Lee had 208 yards rushing on 24 carries, which was impressive as the Folkston Tribe only had 195 yards rushing as a team. Charlton quarterback Trae Harrington was 5 of 10 passing for 103 yards. Curtis Nixon caught 4 of those passes for 89 yards and Charlton’s other touchdown.

After being held to 93 total yards in the first half, Irwin had 346 total yards. Merritt had 156 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Moore had 141 on 27 carries. Peterson also had 82 yards on 7 carries. Merritt had 4 of the Irwin scores, and Peterson added the other touchdown.

Posey was 1-4 passing for 9 yards, a key reception by Moore which extended their final drive.

Irwin ends its year with a 10-2-1 mark, their most since 1999. A victory would have given them their first state finals appearance since 1997.

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