Originally created 11/29/03

Screven County falls short



FORT VALLEY, Ga. - The guys in the press box were discussing Peach County quarterback Alonzo Bryant.

The man operating the scoreboard was saying how University of Georgia coach Mark Richt was going to build his team around Bryant, who has verbally committed to the Bulldogs.

Richt could take a lesson from Trojans coach Rance Gillespie.

Although Screven County shut down star running back Tony Wright in the second half of Friday's Class AAA second-round playoff game, Bryant connected with Roger King for a game-winning 78-yard touchdown pass as the Trojans took a 27-14 win.

Even the guys in the press box could see Bryant - who was 9-for-12 for 181 yards and rushed for 36 more - is something special.

"He'll make his share of plays," Screven County coach Mark Daniel said."I think we adjusted to that."

Just not soon enough.

The Gamecocks got 112 yards and a touchdown from James Howard, and Terel Parrish took an inside reverse for a 44-yard score to knot the game at 14-14 in the third quarter.

But Bryant connected with King with 5:56 left in the quarter, and Brandon Lowe returned a Michael Waters interception 7 yards for the final score with 51 seconds left in the game to seal it.

"They played their hearts out," Howard said. "We played our hearts out. It seemed like they wanted it a little bit more."

The defending state champions opened the game with a 10-play, 80-yard drive, and Peach County couldn't figure out how to stop the Gamecocks' balanced attack. The drive was capped by a 6-yard run from Howard.

Screven County (10-2), though, never completely regained the momentum.

And the Trojans (11-1) stole it for good when the Gamecocks couldn't convert a fake punt on fourth-and-5 from their own 25.

After the attempt fell three yards short, Wright - who gained 147 yards on 18 carries - scored the second of the two touchdowns, this one a 27-yarder to give Peach County the lead.

"I put us in a tough situation," Daniel said. "We were going all out. We knew we were the underdogs and knew they outmatched us with athletes. It's a risk. If you make it, you're the hero. If you don't, you're the idiot.

"You take a risk on being an idiot."

Howard had a chance to tie the game late in the second quarter after Screven County moved the ball 57 yards on five plays, but on fourth-and-goal from the 3, he was stopped 6 inches short of the end zone to end the Gamecocks' threat.

"I scored," Howard said. "I guess they called my knee down, but I don't think it was."

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216. or josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com