By Anthony Rhoads
Lovejoy built a 28-3 lead and survived a fourth-quarter surge to beat Newnan 28-18 Friday night at Twelve Oaks Stadium in a battle of ranked teams in Region 4-AAAAA.
Lovejoy (8-0, 5-0) entered the contest at No. 6 in week's Associated Press high school football poll while Newnan (8-1, 5-1) came into the game at No. 10.
The contest was not only a clash between two of the top teams in the state but it was a showcase for two of the top quarterbacks.
Lovejoy quarterback Kisan Flakes finished the contest completed 14 of 19 passes for 227 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Flakes added 78 yards rushing on 11 carries. Newnan quarterback Tyler Horne completed 28 of 52 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
"Our defense played a great game," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. "You really can't stop the kind of offense they've got but I thought our defense stepped up tonight."
Defensive end Jeremy Lomax made perhaps the most important play of the game with about 2:12 remaining in the contest.
Newnan faced a fourth and 10 at the Lovejoy 22. Horne dropped back to pass and was pressured by the Lovejoy defense. He threw a pass but Lomax reached up and deflected the ball.
"I knew it was over then," he said. "They were tough and came out strong in the fourth quarter but it was a great effort by our defense."
Lomax recorded two quarterback sacks and several tipped passes.
"He had a great game and he's a great player," Hughes said.
Newnan opened the contest with an 11-play drive that ended in a 29-yard field goal by Kyle Sherman.
The rest of the first half belonged to Lovejoy.
Lovejoy took the lead with about 4:21 remaining in the first quarter when Flakes connected with Mark Pettaway on a 19-yard touchdown pass.
Pettaway also had a solid night rushing the ball as he gained 98 yards on 12 carries. Pettaway also caught eight passes for 70 yards.
Lovejoy extended its lead to 14-3 when Aaron Williams scored on an 11-yard run with 7:43 remaining in the second quarter.
Williams also caught a 2-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds remaining in the half.
Lovejoy's other scoring in the first half was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Flakes to Santini Washington with 2:11 remaining in the half.
Washington led Lovejoy in receiving yardage with 97 yards on five catches.
Vernard Hoover only caught one pass for Lovejoy but it was a big one. He hauled in a 54-yard pass to help set up Williams' TD reception.
Newnan's Demiko Goodman led all receivers with nine catches for 153 yards.