Under a full moon and perfect weather for football, two championship caliber teams played tug-of-war for 32 minutes. It was a dominant defense and a single touchdown that was eventually the difference in the Piedmont Athletic Conference Championship football game. Morgan took a heartbreaking 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Loganville Red Devils at Bill Corry Stadium in a game that went down to the wire. It gave Loganville its second straight PAC Championship and Morgan the heartbreaking loss to end their perfect season.
Loganville pulled a little trickery on the opening kickoff with an onside kick that failed when Jacob Pritchett recovered on the Bulldog 45. Both squads were befallen by penalties on their first possession that ended up in punts. With 4:28 remaining in the first the Bulldogs went on a 10-play drive with quarterback Aijalon Edwards getting a key first down on the keeper to keep the drive alive, but the Dogs failed to get points on the board. Morgan got a good punt (maybe a little too good) from Rogers Clark from the Loganville 41 that sailed into the end zone for a touchback and after that the defenses showed up and showed out.
Three and outs, negative plays and turnovers dominated the rest of the half. Morgan had a bad snap that ended in a sack, another sack, a fumbled handoff, a fumbled punt, another fumble on the jet sweep, and threw an interception. Loganville was guilty of holding, intentional grounding, and delay of game while Reggie Ross knocked down a pass and broke up another on back-to-back plays, Morgan recovered a Red Devil fumble and Clark had a big play on a tackle behind the line. It obviously wasn’t the cleanest of halves.
However, with 5:17 left in the half Ty Butler got some perimeter blocking on a jet sweep and broke loose for 45 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Dogs, a flag was thrown well behind the play that nullified the score. It was questionable at best according to the MCMS coaches and bench. Nathan Camacho has been automatic on PAT’s this season so the one call might have given the Dogs just enough to come out on top. Hind sight’s 20-20. The half ended in a 0-0 tie.
The Red Devils received the second half kickoff, but the Dogs got another takeaway on the 50 when Pritchett recovered a fumble after a first down was gained. Morgan got a 22 yard pass from Edwards to Samaurea Ward after a penalty, but still had to punt when a facemask backed the line of scrimmage up even farther.
Loganville quarterback Cooper Kenney was the difference in the game, but especially in the second half using his legs as well as his arm. Kenney was part of 45 of the 65 total yards’ drive, running for 25 and passing for 19. The single pass he threw connected with his wide-open tight end in the middle of the field from the Morgan 19 for the touchdown. The Red Devils went for two but couldn’t connect on the sprint out pass-run option with 3:22 left in the game. The one score was all they needed to take the 6-0 win and the championship.
The Dogs still had one last gasp, but what followed was an unusual situation seldom seen in football. On the touchdown Morgan was called for two unsportsmanlike penalties that gave Loganville the opportunity to kick off from the MOCO 30, yes, 30-yard line. An onside kick was the obvious play as kicking into the end zone would have given Morgan the ball at the 20. The Red Devils made the worst play in that situation by kicking the ball out-of-bounds. The Dogs got a break and took possession at their own 25-yard line. Morgan did get a first down to keep things interesting, but a Loganville pick sealed the deal with :43 seconds in the contest.
It was a great championship game that had fans wanting more. However, the Red Devils were able to lock-down number one receiver Marquavious Wright by double-teaming him the entire evening. The Dogs couldn’t get the running game going as the visitors speed on the perimeter and tough interior defense shut down the usually potent Bulldogs. It was a shame that either team had to lose.