By Doug Gorman
CLARKSTON-North Clayton sophomore quarterback Morgan Burnett is no longer the best kept secrete in the Southern Crescent.
It doesn't really matter, defenses still can't contain him.
Just ask the Southwest DeKalb Panthers who tried with little success to stop him Saturday night in a Region 5-AAAA East contest at DeKalb Memorial Stadium.
Despite throwing two interceptions in the first half, Burnett and his teammates put on a show en route to a 35-13 victory.
The win keeps the 10th-ranked Eagles undefeated with a 7-0 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the subregion. Southwest DeKalb dropped to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in subregion and did serious damage to its playof hopes.
Burnett rushed for 159 yard and scored on touchdowns of 1, 57 and 64 yards en route to the victory.
Southwest DeKalb took a 7-0 lead just seven seconds into the second quarter when Jerry Flowers scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
About seven minutes later, both offense really heated up as North Clayton scored twice and Southwest DeKalb once in the final 3:57 of the first half.
Keeping the ball for nearly eight minutes, the Eagles marched 81 yards to the end zone. With Burnett out of the game with an slight injury, back-up quarterback Greg Wilson hit Dominque Randolph on a 22-yard TD pass for their first score. The extra point failed, and Southwest DeKalb led 7-6.
With 1:36 remaining in the first half, the Panthers answered when Eric Ward hit Nicholas Marker on an 80-yard pass for a 13-6 lead.
Burnett recovered quickly from his injury, returned on the next series, proved his was just fine, and closed out the quarter with a 57-yard score to tie the game.
With the game tied at 13-all in the second half, North Clayton outscored the Panthers 22-0 in the final two quarters.
The Eagles' high-powered offense out-gained the Panthers 310 to 182. The North Clayton defense allowed just 66 yards in the second half.
North Clayton broke the tie midway through the third quarter with the game-winning touchdown. The Eagles moved 67 yards in just six plays. Burnett's 44-yard pass to Dirk Engram moved the ball down near the Panthers' goal line, and Burnett capped the drive two plays later with a 1-yard plunge.
Engram gave the Eagles a 27-13 lead with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The senior was able to show off his athletic ability on the play. After getting hemmed in by the Panthers' kick coverage, Engram broke away from the coverage, raced around the far sideline, broke free and sprinted to the end zone.
Burnett added the final TD of the game when he called his own number and raced 69 yards.
The Eagles return to action next week for a game against South Atlanta.
Southwest DeKalb comes to the Southern Crescent Friday for a game against region foe Jonesboro.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Tara Stadium.