The East Paulding Raiders had a chance to sew up the Region 5-AAAA subregion title with a victory over Pope. Prior to Friday night’s game, the Raiders were untouchable at home in the Boneyard. Holland Frost and the Pope offense though didn’t seem impressed by the Raiders’ defense which had held seven opponents to a combined 29 points while shutting four opponents out this year. Pope jumped out early and rallied late to steal a 29-23 victory over No. 5 East Paulding.
Brooks Climmons got Pope on the board with 4:46 left in the first as the Greyhounds churned up the clock by playing keep-away. East Paulding immediately knotted the game at seven with a 70-yard kick return for a score by Kyler Neal. Frost worked some magic to help Pope reclaim the lead, finding Myles Everett on a 67-yard scoring connection, but again the Raiders answered. Terrell Hannah found the end zone from five yards out one play after East Paulding converted on fourth-and-16 on the 28-yard line. The two teams went to the locker room at 14-14.
The defenses came to play after intermission, and Miles Hemphill split the uprights from 27 yards, but East Paulding’s first lead was a costly one as starting quarterback Mitchell Webb left the game with an arm injury. The No. 2 quarterback was injured while playing defense early in the first quarter, so the third-string QB was inserted into the game.
First, Pope would grab the lead back when Frost ran for a six-yard score. Raiders junior tailback Kamani Thomas would give East Paulding its final lead with 7:29 to play but a missed extra point gave the Raiders just a two-point advantage.
Frost found Mason Shiflett from 60 yards out and a two-point conversion gave Pope its final margin of victory. Two Greyhounds defensive stands iced the victory and moved both teams to 7-1.