Chattahoochee used a stout defense and the Timmy Byerly-to-Kane Whitehurst connection that hadn’t failed them all year for a dominating 24-0 win in the Class AAAA state championship game.
The Cougar defense held Starr's Mill to just 195 total yards, including 83 rushing yards. Star running back Zach Lasky was held to 19 yards on 10 carries.
Meanwhile, the Byerly-to-Whitehurst connection was in full effect tonight as the two hooked up four times for 83 yards including a sensational 27-yard pass and catch down to the Starr’s Mill seven-yard line at the beginning of the second half. Byerly looked hemmed up in the backfield before breaking two tackles, rolling to his right and tossing the ball to an open Whitehurst.
A few plays later, freshman Chase Nelson bowled in from the one-yard line to make the score 17-0. Nelson finished the game with 73 yards on 14 carries. Byerly had 108 yards on 26 attempts, including a three-yard touchdown run in the first half.
Chattahoochee opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 50-yard field goal by Amman Lakip on their first possession. The drive was keyed by runs of 14 by Byerly and 16 by Nelson. The Cougars would then take a 10-0 lead on their following possession when Byerly would catalyze a 99-yard drive to paydirt.
Whitehurst would end the scoring late in the fourth with a 12-yard end-around to give the Cougars a commanding 24-0 lead.
Head coach Terry Crowder’s bunch ends their season with a spotless 15-0 record. The Cougars were not challenged tonight, unlike playoff games against Marist and Statesboro, which were won on late kicks by Lakip. But besides those two narrow wins, the Cougars dominated their competition all year in their first season in Class AAAA.
In a year of several serious challengers in the classification, Chattahoochee is somewhat of a surprise. Just a few weeks ago, when the playoffs began, Tucker, Northside-Warner Robins, Clarke Central, Kell and Statesboro all had legitimate hopes of playing tonight. But all were upset at one point in the postseason setting up tonight’s newcomers final.