Henry County survives Monticello scare, 35-21

The Henry County Warhawks are headed to the first-round of the Class AA playoffs on the heels of a 35-21 victory over Monticello Friday night in the regular-season finale.

Monticello made sure the game was closer than Henry County would have liked.

With the game tied 21-all, Henry County quarterback Dylan Shaddix connected on two touchdowns pass in less than four minutes late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for the Warhawks.

Taking a page out of Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech's triple-option offense, the Hurricanes' game-plan gave Henry County's fits for most of the night and kept the game close until late.

"That offense is a great equalizer," said Henry County coach Mike Rozier. "You have to give them credit. They came in here with only one win, and they played their hearts out. Their offensive line came off the ball, and that big fullback made things happen."

Because of Northwest Macon's victory over Greene County, the Warhawks will open the playoffs on the road next week.

The Warhawks took advantage of a huge break late in the fourth quarter when Monticello fumbled a punt back to Henry County deep in its own territory.

That set up the first of Shaddix's touchdown passes a few plays later when he connected with Markeith Ambles on a seven-yard scoring strike to put Henry County back on top for good.

Henry County stopped the Hurricanes' next drive and went back to work on its final scoring drive.

After two incomplete passes, Shaddix found Shavariz Smith over the middle. The senior wide receiver caught the pass and out ran the Monticello defense for a 55-yard touchdown.

On Monticello's next drive, Henry County recovered the ball deep in Monticello's side of the field, and was able to run out the clock.

John Posso connected on all five extra points for Henry County.

"We never feel like we are out of a game," Shaddix said after the contest. "We just kept working and things started to come together. It feels great to be going to the playoffs."

A year ago, Shaddix played at Eagle's Landing before transferring to Henry County. The Warhawks scored first, converted a five-play, 60-yard drive into a touchdown when Shaddix called his own number and ran the ball a cross the goal line from the 1.

The Hurricans tied the game at 7-all when fullback Jonathan Sanford scored on a five-yard scamper to help convert a 11-play, 70 yard drive.

Henry County marched right back down field fueled by four first downs on the 10-play, 61-yard drive.

Stephon Brown capped the series with an 11-yard touchdown.

That's when the game turned into a shootout. Monticello quarterback Keldrick Davis, who rushed for 133 yards, scored the first of his two touchdowns to help tie the game at 14.

Right before the half, Brown added his second TD of the night for the Henry County as the Warhawks led 21-14 at the break.

Monticello used some ball-control offense in the third quarter, allowing Henry County just three offensive plays.

The Hurricanes tied the score for the last time late in the third quarter when Davis broke free on a fourth-down-and-five play and rambled 33 yards into the end zone.