Richmond Academy had waited nearly 40 years to win a state playoff game, and a few years ago it looked like that streak would last for decades longer.
The drought ended Friday night, when senior Evan Dansby picked off a Glynn Academy pass at the goal line to give Richmond Academy a 27-21 comeback win in the opening round of the Georgia Class AAAA playoffs. Senior quarterback Mar-Quon Medlock accounted for four touchdowns, and his 25-yard pass to running back Jerrel Anderson with 3:55 left for the winning score.
"Our seniors played incredible. ... We made plays when you had to make them," Musketeers coach Chris Hughes said.
Glynn Academy, which had defeated Richmond Academy 55-31 and 47-0 earlier in the decade, advanced the ball to the 10-yard line with 30 seconds left. Its two plays from there netted a 4-yard pass and a turnover.
"There was no way they were going to score on that play," Dansby said. "It feels amazing to make it all the way to the second round. I think the better team won."
Region 3-AAAA went 2-2 in the opening round a season after all its teams were bounced after one game. Richmond Academy plays at Thomas County Central next week.
Anderson had 103 yards receiving out of the backfield to go along with 77 on the ground. Richmond Academy smoothly advanced the ball up the field most of the night, having its most success out of the shotgun formation. It finished with 373 yards.
Medlock rushed for 83 yards and passed for 207, but Hughes said his ability to run the ball might have surprised Glynn Academy. The three game films the Musketeers traded last week did not include Medlock running, because he was nursing an ankle injury. His rushing total included scampers of 32, 23 and 18 yards.
"It was a real key for him to be able to run the ball," Hughes said. "They hadn't seen that."
In a meeting of the state's two oldest schools, Richmond Academy overcame deficits of 14-7 and 21-14.
Glynn Academy senior Trent Murray rushed for a game-high 157 yards. He fumbled out of the end zone on the first drive of the second half, when Glynn Academy had the chance to go up by 14 points.
Richmond Academy capitalized on the break, driving 80 yards for a score. Medlock's touchdown passes went to Anderson, Don Quarles and Drek Reid. Quarles' catch was a leaping grab on fourth-and-goal from the 9-yard line.
The Musketeers dominated the opening quarter, covering 96 yards on eight running plays to lead 7-0. They also squandered a chance to tie the score at halftime. On third-and-1 inside the 5, Medlock stumbled after feigning a handoff. The Musketeers then called for a fake field goal, but Blanding Hite's pass attempt to Quarles was intercepted and Glynn Academy led 14-7 at halftime.
Richmond Academy didn't lead again until Reid's sliding 9-yard scoring reception with 3:55 left.
Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RICHMOND ACADEMY 27, GLYNN ACADEMY 21
PLAY OF THE GAME: Defensive back Evan Dansby intercepted a pass at the goal line with 16.4 seconds left to preserve the win.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Quarterback Mar-Quon Medlock accounted for four touchdowns and 290 yards of offense.
WHY RICHMOND ACADEMY WON: It took good care of the ball, didn't make mistakes on special teams and moved the ball effectively.
WHY GLYNN ACADEMY LOST: Its defense couldn't stop the Musketeers out of the shotgun, and its offense struggled to move the ball when it didn't create big plays.
NEXT: Richmond Academy will play a second-round game at Thomas County Central next Friday.