Bucs' 'D' leads team into quarterfinals
November 19, 2011

ACWORTH - For the second straight week Allatoona dug itself into a first half hole, and for the second straight week the Buccaneers dug themselves out of it.

Miles Jones scored two second half touchdowns, including the game winner with just over 2 minutes to play, to propel the Bucs to a 14-7 win over Mary Persons in the second
round of the Class AAA state playoffs..

"We came out a little tight in the beginning and messed up a few plays that hurt us, but we had good fight in us and worked our way back in it behind a defense that played great the whole game," said Allatoona coach Gary Varner.

The win sends Allatoona on to face fellow undefeated Burke County (12-0) in the state quarterfinals next Friday. The Bears from Waynesboro, advanced with a 35-7 win over Woodward Academy in their second round match-up. A coin flip today will decide home field advantage for the quarterfinals.

Mary Persons jumped out to a 7-0 lead by methodically moving the ball downfield with an option running attack. Running back Alexiyon Stewart took a misdirection sweep 19 yards to score the Bulldogs only touchdown of the game with 7:20 to play in the second quarter.

While Mary Persons ground game was finding success, Allatoona's vaunted attack was bottled up for the first two quarters as the Bulldogs all but dared them to beat them with the passing game.

"They had a good game plan with eight and nine guys up in the box," said Varner of the 15 yards rushing Allatoona had in the first half. "We had some 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' plays in the passing game, but we messed a few things up every time we had a shot to score."

Although Allatoona didn't cash in on any passing touchdowns, Varner said their willingness to air it out loosened up Mary Persons' aggressive defense and allowed Allatoona's running game to get on track for a second half comeback.

The Bucs finally put a dent in the scoreboard on their second drive of the third quarter by moving 78 yards in nine plays.

Quarterback Jeremy Uzee went 3-for-3 on the drive including a 37-yard completion to Kenny Padtha that moved the ball into the redzone.

Jones found daylight for the first time all night three plays later, running 12 yards into the end zone to tie the game 7-7 with 26 seconds to play in the third quarter. He would finish the game with 20 carries for 97 yards to push his season rushing total to 2,028 yards.

Mary Persons looked poised to answer in the fourth quarter, but faced with fourth-and-1 from the Allatoona 44 yard line they punted with 4:23 left in the game. A touchback placed the ball on Allatoona's 20-yard line for what would be the Bucs' game winning drive.

An 8-yard pass to D.J. Ezell started the drive and a 1-yard run set up a critical third down on their on 29, Varner called timeout to draw up a play.

Needing one yard, and with everyone in the stadium expecting Jones to get the carry, Uzee faked a toss to the tailback and slipped the ball in the gut of fullback Robert Johnson.

"That's a new play we put in this week and our O-line coach was begging me to run it. (Johnson) said if I gave him the ball he'd get at least 2 so we gave it to him."

Johnson did better than he promised, rumbling seven yards for the critical first down.

Two plays later the toss did go to Jones and for the first time all night he broke into the secondary for a 30-yard gain.

Then, on the same play he ran moments earlier, Johnson plowed his way for a 16-yard gain before Jones' game-winning run from 13 yards out with 2:24 to play in the game.



Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Bucs D leads team into quarterfinals

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