The Indians get a big win at the Reservation.
Stephens County held on in the second half to beat Lanier 27-18 Friday night at the Reservation in Region 8-AAAA football.
Chaz Thornton had about 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Tomas Colbert scored twice and had more than 100 yards receiving to lead the Indian offense.
Indians Head Coach Travis Noland said he is proud of his senior class.
“We talked (with the seniors) about what was in front of them and what a challenge it was going to be (tonight),” said Noland. “We were getting ready to play a team that was physically superior to us and it was going to come down to how bad they wanted to win. We had been in some close games and we were not able to make the plays as a senior class coming down the stretch in those close games and challenged them to play from the heart. I told them how much they meant to me, this program, this town, and they answered the bell tonight.”
Lanier struck first, scoring with ten minutes in the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Grant to Onyx Berrios to take a 6-0 lead after the Indians blocked the extra point.
However, Stephens County came right back, scoring on an end-around run by Colbert from 7 yards out on fourth down to take a 7-6 lead after the Matt Moon extra point.
Trailing 7-6 at the half, Lanier scored on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter as Marty Sanders took a short pass from Grant and went 80 yards. Lanier led 12-7 after missing the two-point conversion attempt.
Once again though, the Indians came right back as Thornton ran 53 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good and the Indians led 13-12.
After the Indian defense stopped Lanier on fourth down, the Indians got the ball back but were quickly pushed into a third down and 35. However, Dionte Mayfield found Colbert, who caught it over two Lanier defenders for 44 yards and a first down. Four plays later, Colbert again went up over multiple Lanier defenders and hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to give Stephens County a 20-12 lead after the extra point.
Lanier missed a field goal to start the fourth quarter, but cut the Indian lead to 20-18 on a 51-yard Grant to Berrios touchdown pass with less than eight minutes to go. Lanier missed another two-point conversion attempt, which kept the Indians in front.
The Indians were forced to punt on their next possession, but Lanier fumbled that punt and Casey Dickerson recovered the fumble. Four plays later, Thornton scored from five yards out to give Stephens County the 27-18 lead with four minutes left.
A Brandon Ballenger interception ended a final Lanier rally with three minutes to go.
Taylor Grant had over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns for Lanier, with Berrios and Sanders each totaling over 100 yards in receiving for the Longhorns.
Stephens County is now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in region play, while Lanier drops to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the region.
The Indians are home again next Friday against Eastside at the Reservation. Eastside beat Walnut Grove 55-20.
In other 8-AAAA action, Monroe Area beat Madison County 63-6 and Chestatee beat Lumpkin County 49-17.
Elsewhere, Hart County beat Elbert County 6-0, Habersham Central fell to Duluth 56-14, and Franklin County lost to Morgan County 50-21.
Player of the Game: Tomas Colbert
Lineman of the Game: Devan Ferreira
Sub of the Game: Ben Harris
Spirit Award: Dustin Bivins
Meanwhile, in JV football Thursday night, Stephens County defeated Franklin County by a score of 32-6. Stephens County’s JV Indian football team finishes the season with a 5-2 record.