Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

January 12, 2013

Florida rallies to defeat Georgia in War of the Border

MOULTRIE —  Madison County’s Chris O’Hara blocked a Georgia punt and picked it up and ran it 17 yards with 1:31 remaining to give Florida a 21-14 victory in the Florida-Georgia War of the Border All-Star Game on Saturday at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium.

Georgia led 14-0 at the half, but could manage no sustained offense in the final 30 minutes.

Florida scored twice in the third quarter to tie the game then missed field goal attempts of 38 and 35 yards in the fourth quarter.

But O’Hara made those misses moot.

Georgia faced a fourth-and-12 from its own 30 when O’Hara crashed in to block the punt of Trinity High’s Drew Gibson.

O’Hara then picked the ball up and raced to the end zone to complete Florida’s game-winning comeback.

Georgia also led at the half of last year’s game before losing 20-16.

Florida wasted little time getting back in the game in the third quarter despite the 14-point deficit.

Georgia quarterback Jacori Taylor of Early County High fumbled and Gene Noel of Jefferson County High picked it up and raced 49 yards for Florida’s first score just 2:09 into the second half.

Florida High’s Jason Coste converted and Georgia’s lead was cut in half at 14-7.

Florida tied the game on its next possession when quarterback Traveze Robins of East Gadsden High completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to high school teammate Janorris Cunningham.

Again, Coste converted.

And that is the way the score remained until O’Hara crashed through the Georgia punt blockers.

Georgia’s best scoring opportunity in the second half came when Thomas County Central’s Winston Codling picked off a pass to give his team a first down at the Florida 29.

Four plays later, however, Georgia was forced to punt from the Florida 43.

A defensive struggle in the first half resulted in just one offensive touchdown, and it came on the Georgia team’s second possession.

Georgia had taken possession on the Florida 49 after Mitchell County's Jacorey Belvin intercepted a pass thrown by the Florida quarterback who was under pressure from Colquitt County linebacker John Gray.

Three plays later, Taylor connected with Early County High teammate Ladonis Bryant on a 46-yard completion to the Florida 3-yard line.

Taylor took it in to the end zone himself on the next play.

Colquitt County's Roberto Vega converted the extra point and Georgia led 7-0 with 11:32 left in the first quarter.

And that is where the score remained until 33 seconds remained in the first half and again Gray played a part in changing the score.

Florida punter Dalton Nichols of Wakulla High School field a poor snap and rolled to his right.

Under pressure, he attempted a pass that Gray intercepted and ran 30 yards to the end zone.

The extra point by Lee County's Hunter Johnson gave Georgia a 14-0 halftime lead.

Georgia had another opportunity to score in the second quarter after quarterback Bryce Benton of Americus-Sumter County ran 30 yards to a first down at the Florida 11.

But two plays later, Benton threw an interception in the end zone with 2:09 left in the half.

Gray made sure that interception did not hurt the Georgia cause.

Gray’s performance in his final game at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium earned him the Defensive Most Valuable Player Award for the Georgia team.

Bainbridge High running back Terry Lewis, who rushed for 44 yards on eight carries, was Georgia’s Offensive Most Valuable Player.

 Benton completed 14-of-27 passes for 127 yards and one interception. Taylor was 4-for-11 for 61 yards and an interception.

Bryant was Georgia’s leading receiver with seven catches for 80 yards.

Robinson, whose touchdown pass provided Florida’s only offensive touchdown, was his team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player.

Madison County High’s Brandon Crawford was named Florida’s Defensive Most Valuable Player.

Tre Arnold, also of Madison County, had five pass receptions for 50 yards.


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