ATLANTA — Gainesville, Eagle's Landing Christian and Buford won state championships on the first day of the GHSA state finals on Friday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The finals continue today, and will be broadcast on Georgia Public Television. Dooly County (11-2) will face Emanuel County Institute (12-1) in the Class A public school title game at 11:30 a.m. Jefferson (13-1) will battle Calhoun (14-0) at 2:30 p.m. in the AA final. Sandy Creek (14-0) will take on Ridgeland (13-1) for the AAAA state title at 5:30 p.m. Lovejoy (13-1) and Norcross (14-0) will battle for the 6A state championship at 8:30 p.m.
Gainesville 49, Ware County 13
ATLANTA (AP) — Record-setting junior quarterback Deshaun Watson accounted for five touchdowns and more than 400 yards to lead Gainesville to its first state title, 49-13 over Ware County in the Class AAAAA championship game Friday night.
Watson threw three touchdown passes, two to Caleb Hayman, to raise his season total to 50, and his two touchdown runs gave him 24 for the season. He is the state career leader in touchdown throws (108) and passing yardage (4,031).
Watson completed 28 of 36 passes for 324 yards against Ware (13-2) and ran 14 times for 90 more yards as Gainesville (12-3) moved up and down the field at will.
Gainesville scored at least 40 points in all except one of its five playoff victories and went over 60 twice.
The Red Elephants had made it to the title game six times previously, the most recent a 13-12 loss to Peach County in 2009.
Eagle’s Landing Christian 33, Prince Avenue Christian 0
ATLANTA (AP) — Kevonte Green ran for two touchdowns and the Eagle’s Landing Christian defense did the rest as the Chargers won the Class A private school state championship 33-0 over Prince Avenue Christian on Friday.
ELCA (14-1) scored the first four times it had the ball in the second half after leading 7-0 at halftime and held Prince Avenue (11-3) to 102 total yards. The Wolverines crossed midfield just once.
Green, a Purdue recruit, had a 23-yard touchdown in the first quarter and a 12-yard score in the third, finishing with 84 yards on 12 carries.
ELCA, which had 342 total yards of offense, also got touchdown runs from D.J. Curl, Brad Moore and Dalton Eldridge, who was 7 of 8 passing for 107 yards.
Class A was split into private and public divisions by the GHSA for the first time this year.
Buford 10, St. Pius 3
ATLANTA (AP) — Dontravious Wilson broke outside on a fourth-and-1 play and raced 39 yards for the tie-breaking touchdown with 9:10 left as Buford defeated St. Pius 10-3 for the Class AAA state championship.
It was the eighth state title in 12 years and the ninth overall for Buford, which was in the championship game for the sixth straight year. The Wolves (12-3) lost to Calhoun last season after winning four consecutive titles.
St. Pius (12-3) tied the game with 4:38 left in the third quarter on Thomas O’Leary’s 47-yard field goal. Matthew Bonadies kicked a 43-yard field goal for Buford.
with 4 seconds left in the first half.
It was a defensive struggle throughout, with St. Pius finishing with 184 yards and Buford gaining 178. The Wolves dropped Golden Lions quarterback Jack Spear five times, with Mikey Burt getting two of the sacks.