It was a rough Friday throughout Coweta County’s high school football community, with five of six teams dropping games.
Northgate fell in region play 35-30 to South Paulding for while Newnan closed out a string of five non-region games with a 45-21 loss at the hands of Class 7A No. 2 state-ranked Walton.
Twice this season Northgate had already buckled down to stop a two-point conversion that saved a victory.
So when the Vikings did it again in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game at South Paulding, the script for a second straight Region 5-6A win seemed well in place.
The Spartans, however, had other ideas.
South Paulding had enough time on the clock to put together a scoring drive in the final minute en route to its first win of the season.
The loss dropped the Vikings to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in Region 5-6A, while the Spartans moved to 1-4 and 1-2.
Quarterback Austin Seymour threw for 303 yards and touchdowns to three South Paulding receivers as Northgate was unable to hold leads of 20-7 at halftime and 27-7 with five minutes left in the third.
From there, the Vikings were outscored 28-3 over the final 17 minutes while only able to manage a Kade Loggins field goal that maintained a two-point cushion.
Thomas Marshall rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown while also catching seven passes for 49 yards and a score for a South Paulding team that put fell short against Douglas County 24-17 one week earlier in a previous upset bid in Region 5-6A play.
Parker Self overcame a lost fumble to the Vikings to catch three passes on South Paulding’s final drive capped off with the go-ahead touchdown reception. Self had 14 catches for 143 yards, while Miles Campbell added seven receptions for 88 and a touchdown.
Northgate, which was coming off a 35-33 victory over Creekside, has alternated wins and losses over the first five weeks of the season
Walton 45, Newnan 21; A battered and bruised Cougars team held strong in the second quarter much the same way as East Coweta in a Friday that had county lineups up against state-ranked opponents from Cobb.
Newnan fell behind 10-0 early in a trip to Marietta but pulled to within 17-14 after getting a touchdown pass from Michael Maginnis to Elijah Williams.
Looking to tie the game on a 38-yard field-goal attempt, the Cougars had it blocked and Walton carried the momentum into 14 unanswered points before the end of the half.
Already playing without top running back Bryson Moss, Newnan held out leading receiver Woody Waters, who was banged up entering this week. The Cougars’ M.A.S.H. unit also included starting center and long snapper Carson Knight.
With a bye week prior to the start of Region 2-7A play and a trip to face surprising Wheeler ahead on Oct. 5, head coach Chip Walker and his staff weren’t about to take any chances against No. 2 state-ranked Walton.
The Raiders, with arguably the state’s top recruit in Georgia commit Dominick Blaylock, used its speed and depth to pull away. Blaylock finished with 114 yards receiving with a 30-yard touchdown catch.
Walton equally rested injured quarterback Daniel Brunner, who was nursing a sprained ankle that he played on at the finish of a previous nationally televised win over North Gwinnett.
Backup Zach Rozsman stepped up to throw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns including a pair to senior K.D. Alford.
Tre Bridges had an interception for the Cougars in the loss, while senior lineman Darius Gates added a sack among defensive highlights.
Newnan, which was coming off a bye following a 26-17 loss to Griffin, opens the 2-7A schedule against undefeated Wheeler, which moved to 5-0 after defeating Roswell 37-36.
Westlake was the only other region team besides Wheeler to survive in its final non-region game of the regular season. The Lions, who will host winless East Coweta in the first week of 2-7A play, rallied to top Newton 26-23.