By Phil Albert
Eagle's Landing took its final lead with 1:47 remaining and held off a late Stockbridge rally for a 31-24 emotionally-charged victory Friday night at Stockbridge.
Eagle's Landing (2-5, 2-4 region 2-AAAAA) takes its third county AAAAA title with the victory for coach Bob Stinchcomb, but an injury to Stockbridge star running back and defensive back Xavier Glenn early in the first quarter had everyone in attendance focused away from the outcome.
With one minute gone in the game, Glenn was injured making a tackle on Adarius O'Neal. An ambulance was called and the game was stopped for one hour and 20 minutes before being resumed.
He was taken to an area hospital for a possible broken hip or leg, but later reports at halftime confirmed a dislocated leg. He was set to be released late Friday evening.
The injury may have pumped up the Tigers (0-8, 0-7), who jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter and took a 17-7 lead into the lockerrooms at halftime.
But two costly turnovers to open the third quarter led to 14 straight Golden Eagle points and a 21-17 lead. The lead continued to fluctuate and Eagle's Landing's Evan Kay tied the game at 24-24 with a 22-yard field goal with 8:20 remaining in the game.
Tiger quarterback Willie Copeland was intercepted on the second play from scrimmage at the Tiger 18 and three plays later, Eagle's Landing cut the margin on a 4-yard run by Williams and Kay's extra point.
Stockbridge then fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and Eagle's Landing took the lead as Williams scored on a 9-yard run, capping a four-play drive highlighted by runs of 19 and 10 yards by Glen. Eagle's Landing scored 14 points on seven plays, using 1:37 on the game clock.
Stockbridge answered with an 11-play drive, with Lee scoring on a 2-yard run. Lee rushed eight times on the drive, as the Tigers took a 24-21 lead leading to the fourth-quarter heroics.
Eagle's Landing's Drew Glen gave the visitors a 31-24 lead with a 15-yard touchdown run with 1:49 remaining, ending a 10-play drive that included consecutive 11-yard rushes by O'Neal.
But Stockbridge wasn't finished.
Copeland completed three straight passes for 38 yards, driving the Tigers to the Golden Eagle 16-yard line with 47 seconds remaining. But after a time out, the Tiger drive stalled with four consecutive incomplete passes.
Glen gained 127 yards on 21 carries as the Golden Eagles gained 306 rushing yards on the night. The team didn't throw a pass in the second half, gaining 199 yards on the ground. Glen gained 96 yards in the half.
Quarterback Marcus Williams had 100 yards rushing on 15 carries, including touchdown runs of 4 and 9 yards.
O'Neal finished with 78 yards rushing, including a 6-yard touchdown run.
Stockbridge amassed 268 yards offensively, 171 coming through the air from Copeland. Senior running back T.J. Lee took up the slack lost with Glenn's injury, finishing with 61 yards on the ground in 17 carries.
Copeland scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter, capping a nine-play drive and three plays into the second quarter, he connected with Ty Marshall for a 44-yard score as Marshall took the ball away from an Eagle's Landing defender in double coverage. Sara Schroeter booted both extra points.
Eagle's Landing came back with a 15-play drive that consumed 8:30 on the game clock with O'Neal dashing six yards for the score and Kay's extra point cut the Stockbridge lead to 14-7.
Schroeter booted a 30-yard field goal on the last play of the half.