By Anthony Rhoads
Lovejoy's hopes of getting past the second round in the Class AAAAA state football tournament were dashed Friday night thanks courtesy of Houston County and its quarterback Brandon King.
King rushed for 188 yards and four touchdowns while tossing a touchdown pass to lead the Bears to a 44-26 victory at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
"He did a great job," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. "They played well. We made them look like all-Americans. They had a great game plan, came here and took care of business."
Things looked bright for Lovejoy on its first drive.
Lovejoy drove 63 yards on six plays and quarterback Ryan Williams capped it by scoring on a 1-yard run with 10:37 remaining.
Houston took a 7-6 lead with :20 remaining in the first quarter when King scored on a 17-yard run.
King scored two more TDs in the second quarter to give Houston a 21-6 lead.
With 2:14 remaining in the second quarter, Lovejoy cut into Houston's lead when Williams threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Darius Thomas.
Houston came out in the third quarter and scored on its opening drive when Saul Tyus scored on a 27-yard run.
On the second play of Lovejoy's next drive, Houston's Cortez Washington intercepted a Williams pass at about midfield and ran back for a touchdown.
Houston padded its lead to 42-13 when King scored on a 49-yard run at midway through the third quarter.
Lovejoy answered on its next drive. On the first play, Williams connected with Fitzhugh for a 37-yard completion. On the next play, the pair connected again when Fitzhugh caught a 38-yard touchdown pass. Houston's Brian Wilkerson tipped the pass but it went right into Fitzhugh's arms.
Lovejoy scored its final touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Williams completed a 23-yard TD pass to Octavius Edge.
Williams completed 12 of 24 passes for 254 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Thomas caught four passes for 81 yards while Fitzhugh caught three passes for 105 yards.
Lovejoy managed just 40 yards rushing.
Houston County 44, Lovejoy 26
Scoring by quarters
H - 7 14 21 2 - 44
L - 6 7 7 6 - 26
L Ryan Williamson 1 run 10:37 (kick failed)
H Brandon King 17 run :20 (Taylor Jones kick)
H King 7 run 7:05 (Jones kick)
H King 3 run 2:43 (Jones kick)
L Williams to Darius Thomas 35 pass 2:14 (Maetias Ferreira kick)
H Saul Tyus 27 run 9:29 (Jones kick)
H Cortez Washington interception return 9:02 (Jones kick)
H King 49 run 6:00 (Jones kick)
L Williams to Fitzhugh 38 pass (Ferreira kick)
L Williams to Octavius Edge 23 pass 11:51 (run failed)
H Safety :53