steve.carter@gaflnews.com



CHULA -- The Tiftarea Academy Panthers dominated most of the second half Friday night against the Brentwood War Eagles. However, Brentwood put together one late scoring drive and it was enough as the War Eagles took the GISA Class AA state title with a 14-9 win over the Panthers.

"Brentwood is a good football team. They played hard all night," Panther head coach Roger Womack said after the game.

"We also played hard. We have a great group of kids and I am extremely proud of them. Brentwood is a class act, but so are we."

Tiftarea took the lead with 3:57 left in the game on a five-yard touchdown run by Luke Jordan. John Womack's extra point made the score 9-6 in favor of the Panthers.

At that point in the second half, Tiftarea led Brentwood in total yardage, 119-11. The War Eagles had run only six offensive plays and had yet to convert a first down.

Brentwood took the ball over on its 36 yardline following the Panther kickoff.

Junior quarterback Jamie Dickey, who came in as the leading passer in the state AA ranks, then finally got the Brentwood offense going.

On a second-and-10 play, he hit Marshall Wynne on a 16-yard pass play. That was Brentwood's first first down of the second half and it came with 3:38 left in the game.

Using two pass plays to Tripp West that resulted in 20 yards and a 11-yard run by freshman Daniel Harris, Brentwood drove to the Tiftarea 18.

Facing a third-and-eight from there, Dickey threw into the endzone. The officials called pass interference on the play against the Panthers. That gave the Brentwood the ball, first-and-goal, from the Tiftarea nine.

Several Tiftarea coaches were upset about the call. Womack's feelings on the penalty were, "I didn't see the call. I did think we had good coverage on the play. (However), I don't think a state championship game should have been decided on a call in the endzone. But, you can't blame the officials in this game, both teams played hard."

On the next play following the pass interference, Dickey hit Harris on a pass in the flat. Harris then went in to score from nine yards out. The touchdown came with 46.8 seconds left in the game.

Brad Jolley, the holder, bobbled the point after attempt. But, he stood up and hit David Hill on a pass play for the two-point conversion.

"They mixed it up well in that final drive. They made several good catches. That quarterback also managed to slip away a couple of times when I thought we had him," said Womack.

Even though Brentwood came back to take the win, Tiftarea had to come back just to take the lead.

The War Eagles dominated the first quarter, much like Tiftarea dominated the second half.

On the first drive of the game, Brentwood went 17 plays and 71 yards for the game's first score. The drive went 8:27 and ended when Jolley went in from five yards out on a touchdown run. The kick failed and Brentwood was up 6-0.

That remained the score until late in the third quarter.

Tiftarea had held the ball for most of the third quarter on a drive that went 13 plays and 48 yards. However, the Panthers were stopped on downs with 5:06 left in the third.

On Brentwood's next possession the Panthers forced a punt. The snap went over the punter's head and out of the endzone for a safety. That made the score 6-2 with 2:36 left in the third.

After the teams traded possessions, Tiftarea took the ball over on its 45 yardline in the fourth quarter.

Using the running of Jordan, Ric Ellis and Taylor Hammond, as well as a nine-yard gain by John Womack on a fumblerooskie play, the Panthers drove to the Brentwood five.

From there, Jordan went in for the score.

Jordan ended the game with 84 yards rushing on 17 carries. Hammond added 12 carries and 47 yards.

Harris led Brentwood with 43 yards on 14 carries. Jolley ran five times for 36 yards and Stephen Everett went for 35 yards on eight carries.

West had four catches for 43 yards and Dickey completed 6-of-11 passes for 68 yards.

"We had a great season. Anytime you play for a state title, you know you have had a great year,"





said Womack after the game.

Tiftarea ended the year with a 13-2 overall record. The only other loss was 17-6 in the regular season to a Deerfield-Windsor team that defeated Westfield Friday night for the Class AAA state title.

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