Class AAAA No. 9-state-ranked Griffin overcame six turnovers and a late charge to win its fourth game in a row, 27-23 Friday night at Lovejoy.
The Bears — which trailed 16-6 at the half and 23-6 after a Griffin fumble on the opening drive of the second half led to a Lovejoy touchdown — bolted back into the game on touchdown runs of 8 yards by Sheldon Hancock and 14 yards by D.J. Morgan in the third quarter.
Griffin then delivered the knockout punch on a 41-yard touchdown run by Latravis Montgomery with 1:40 to play. The run capped a 15-play, 99-yard drive that was set up on an interception by Tim Jester and kept alive on a 19-yard pass by quarterback Marcus Waller, who was in the defender’s grasp, to Montgomery at the 45 on fourth-and-5 from the GHS 26.
After the score, GHS recovered an onside kick, but lost the ball on downs and watched as LHS drove to the GHS 9 and fired two passes through the end zone as the clock ran out.
Region 4-AAAA Division A first-place Griffin (6-1 overall, 4-0 subregion) broke a scoreless tie against second-place Lovejoy (2-5, 2-2) when Kentorius Jackson abruptly put an end to Lovejoy’s game-opening drive by recovering a fumble and running 70 yards for a touchdown 1:52 into the game.
Griffin missed the extra point, and Lovejoy was quick to capitalize on a Griffin fumble and score several plays later to pull ahead 7-6 later in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats took advantage of yet another GHS turnover in the second quarter to set up a drive that ended on a 49-yard field goal.
A promising Griffin drive later in the second quarter, that included a 61-yard run by Montgomery, ended when Lovejoy returned a fumble 68 yards to go ahead 16-6. The Wildcats extra point attempt hit the upright and was no good.
However, Griffin committed its sixth turnover of the game on the opening drive of the second half and Lovejoy scored again to go ahead 23-6.