ACWORTH -- Allatoona opened Region 6AAAAAA play with a statement Friday, beating defending region champion Creekview 37-7 and snapping the Grizzlies’ 16-game regular-season winning streak.
The ninth-ranked Buccaneers (1-1, 1-0) jumped on top early and had a 27-0 lead at the half before holding serve after the break.
“I don’t know if the game was as good as the score looks,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “We got lucky a few times early, and we made some mistakes. Those are all things that will hurt us later in the season, but it was good to get the win. We made plays when we needed to.”
While Allatoona led just 3-0 after the first quarter, it had already laid the groundwork for their win.
The Buccaneers held a 19-7 advantage in plays run over the eighth-ranked Grizzlies (2-1, 0-1), and the difference took its toll on the defense with 16 of those plays coming on the ground for 104 yards.
“That’s really the way we wanted to start,” Varner said. “It just makes everything easier later in the game. Obviously, it can wear down the defense, but it opens things up for us in the play-action. When we can do that, we’re pretty hard to stop.”
Alex Wilson led the Allatoona ground attack with 16 carries for 114 yards. Jay Ellison added 48 yards and a touchdown, and Garrett Dequori finished with 53 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Once the ground game sucked in the Grizzlies’ defense, quarterback Dante Marshall took advantage, going 6-of-11 passing for 153 yards and a touchdown to Asante Das, who caught three passes for 123 yards.
While Creekview did not have the ball much early, it was just a few self-inflicted errors inside Allatoona’s 30-yard line away from being competitive.
A 50-yard pass from Brody Rhodes to Ethan Dirrim on the first play from scrimmage was washed out by losses of yards on the next three plays.
Rhodes opened the next drive with a 66-yard rush that was negated by a lost fumble on the next snap, and a 39-yard pass from Dirrim to Chase Wright only resulted in a punt after a loss of yards and two incompletions.
“We know we have the playmakers,” Creekview coach Trevor Williams said. “We saw the kinds of things we can do when we’re playing smart. We had too many mistakes.”
An onside kick to start the second half resulted in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rhodes to Dirrim to cut the lead to 27-7, but Allatoona did not give up much else.
Rhodes finished just 12-of-35 passing for 141 yards. He did pick up a team-high 90 yards six carries, but the offense stagnated during a stretch from the second to fourth quarters, when Rhodes was just 3-of-19 for 18 yards and was picked off by Allatoona’s Shane Tesler.
“Our guys knew their assignments and locked in,” Varner said. “They have some good athletes on the outside. They showed us a couple times what they can do. We did a good job of getting pressure and limiting the damage, though.”
Allatoona will play its first road game next week when it visits River Ridge, while Creekview will have a good chance to start a new winning streak against Osborne.
“We as coaches have to do better,” Williams said. “We have to have our guys ready to come out and compete from the beginning.”