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SF thriller vs. ’Dogs on must-read shelf

SF thriller vs. ’Dogs on must-read shelf
SF thriller vs. ’Dogs on must-read shelf

Fulton City’s Jacquise Lockett looks to plow past South Fulton’s Hunter Allen.
South Fulton’s storybook beginning to the 2008 high school football season continued on Friday night.
The latest chapter will surely be listed in the “thriller” section after the Red Devils edged twin-cities rival Fulton City 36-30 before a standing-room-only crowd at the Bulldogs’ Memorial Field.
The win improves SF and rookie head coach Kelly Spivey to 3-0 on the young season, quite the accomplishment for a program that has won just five games over the last three seasons combined.
Jonathan Avent, returning to the lineup after serving a one game suspension for violating team rules, scored four touchdowns — two rushing, one receiving and one on special teams play — to help his team to its third consecutive victory.
Junior fullback Jared Fowler was a nice complement to Avent with 16 carries for a bruising 53 yards for the victors.
The Red Devils — using superior special teams play — were able to overcome another night of being outplayed on the stat chart as the Bulldogs had 361 yards of total offense to South Fulton’s 247-yard total output.
Fulton City senior quarterback Aaron Wilson led all players with 192 yards on the ground and accounted for two of the Bulldogs’ scores.
Jacquise Lockett added another dimension to the Bulldog attack, accounting for 154 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
While each team compiled impressive rushing stats, the play of the game may have belonged to the South Fulton punt squad.
With a little over 4:00 remaining in the game and SF clinging to a 34-30 lead, the Red Devils were stopped on their 46-yard line and were forced to kick. Junior punter Sam Curtis nailed a 45-yard kick to pin Fulton City inside their own 1.
The Bulldogs, who had been explosive all night, were unable to move the ball in big chunks of yardage on this occasion, though, because of a determined Red Devil defense.
After getting to his own 17-yard line, Wilson was sacked by Avent for a five-yard loss, setting up the play that sealed the game for the Big Red.
On the next snap, Bulldog reserve quarterback Demarquis Young saw the ball sail over his head and into the FC end zone. Young, under a heavy Red Devil rush, flipped the ball out of the end zone and was called for intentional grounding resulting in a safety.
South Fulton was able to run out the clock, setting off a wild celebration.
Spivey was impressed by everything that happened while accepting congratulations by SF faithful afterward.
“It was an awesome game,” the coach claimed. “I couldn’t imagine the atmosphere it was going to be.  Our fans were unreal. They came over here and were in full force I heard them all night and they lifted us through this. This was a great atmosphere.”
South Fulton scored first in the game as Avent went in from two yards out with 5:40 left in the first. 
Fulton City answered with 7:50 left in the second as Andre Glass scampered in from the four. Wilson added the conversion run and the Bulldogs were up 8-6.
The Red Devils wasted little time in reclaiming the lead as Avent busted through the FC defense for a 21-yard score.
The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 14-12 lead, though, after Wilson scored on a one-yard plunge with 1:45 left in the first half.
One of the big factors in South Fulton’s win was their ability to convert Bulldog miscues into points. 
To begin the second half, Fulton City’s Cody Taylor received the SF kickoff and then tried to call for a fair catch after moving with the ball. Avent, in a dead sprint, stripped the ball from Taylor and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown to give the Red Devils a brief lead at 20-14.
Bulldog head coach Wayne Lohaus said experience had a lot to do with the Fulton City mistakes.
“It’s a silly mistake,” Lohaus said referring to Taylor’s miscue. “He thought he made a fair catch call, and he did, after he caught the football. Then they stripped it and went up on us.”
The Bulldogs then marched 68 yards on just four plays as Wilson evaded the SF defense on a 48-yard score to put Fulton up 22-20.
Spivey was impressed with Fulton City’s speed and stated that it was difficult to prepare for something of that magnitude.
“You just can’t simulate something like that,” added Spivey. “You just can’t do it. We looked good on defense in practice and then they would do things to just make our guys miss tackles.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Avent returned the ball 77 yards to the Fulton City two to set up a Corbin Hawks’ touchdown to help SF reclaim the lead at 28-22 with 9:06 left in the third period.
After having two long runs for would be touchdowns called back because of penalties earlier in the game, the Bulldog offensive line was able to free Lockett for a 66-yard score with 2:56 left in the third to give the home squad a 30-28 advantage.
“We’re a young football team and they’re a team with a lot of experience,” said Lohaus. “They put the ball on the ground three times and recovered all of theirs. Two holding plays caused us to lose two touchdowns. That’s a killer right there.”
South Fulton regained the lead with 10:14 left in the contest as Hawks connected with Avent on a 25-yard touchdown pass making the score 34-30.
Fulton City appeared to be on the move to swing the score back in their favor on the next drive.
But, Red Devil safety George Garmon knocked the ball loose from Wilson’s hands on the Bulldog sideline.  The ball came to rest no more than six inches from the out-of-bounds line as SF recovered.
Moments later South Fulton forced the safety and iced the game.
Fulton City visits another rival Fulton County Friday night, while South Fulton is idle this week before returning to play at Fulton County on Sept. 19th.