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Photo by Brian Phillips
Photo by Brian Phillips

On an evening where Chattahoochee entered a home game 11-0 with perhaps another home game on the horizon next week, the Marist War Eagles came out the aggressor, contrary to the typical Alan Chadwick approach. After stopping the Cougars and forcing a three-and-out, the War Eagles took a page out of the Cougars playbook with a 30-yard touchdown on first and ten from senior quarterback Andy Perez to sophomore tailback Gray King. The rare touchdown pass gave Marist the early 7-0 lead just two minutes and sixteen seconds into the game. Marist showed that they would bring pressure against Score 44 member Timmy Byerly of Chattahoochee and the Cougars QB was uncomfortable early.
Byerly stood in the pocket though on the next drive after an 85-yard punt return for a score was called back, robbing Kane Whitehurst of his fifth return score of the season. The Cougar quarterback connected with Hunter Thomas on an 80-yard pitch-and-catch to knot the score a seven-all. Marist would answer before the end of the first quarter on a sustained drive, capped off with a QB sneak from inside the one yard line on third-and-goal.
In the second quarter, Byerly lived up to his coach’s description of Chattahoochee’s “little Tebow” by plowing in from the one yard line on third-and-goal to tie the game 14-14 after picking up a huge third down conversion earlier in the drive.
Marist would then double up the Cougars going into halftime thanks to Gray King’s second score of the night, this one from four yards out, then with just 19.7 seconds left, Perez connected with Jordan Snellings on a twenty-one yard bomb on third and long to go up 28-14 entering intermission.
After halftime, Chattahoochee played some defense by forcing a punt and blocking a field goal attempt, then Byerly took over, driving the team down the field before plunging into the endzone on a two-yard sneak to bring the Cougars to within seven points entering the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Chattahoochee attempted a fake on a 35-yard field goal attempt and would throw an interception with 6:36 left, but the Cougars would recover a Marist fumble to set up the game-tying Byerly four-yard touchdown run.
After the Cougar defense stood tall, Ammon Lakip booted through a 51-yard attempt with under one minute to play to put Chattahoochee up 31-28 for the first time all game. An interception by Josh Gregory iced the victory for the Cougars, who will host Dutchtown in the next round.
Despite suffering a shaky opening to the game, the Cougars rallied behind another strong performance from Timmy Byerly, who lived up to the Tebow-light billing his coach gave him on Sports Central XL. He willed his team to a victory and he may just will the Cougars into the Georgia Dome and a title.