ATLANTA — Stockbridge High School found itself on the winning side of a last-second thriller, topping Mays High School 35-34 in the Inner City Classic held at Lakewood Stadium on Saturday night.
Stockbridge’s offense, led by Kenderick Duncan, was effective on the ground as the new quarterback picked up 56 yards rushing. An early Jalen Holston rush of eight yards gave the Tigers an early lead. On the next drive, Mays quarterback Bardenie Phillips connected with tight end Maleak Bryant for a touchdown to tie the game before another Phillips’ touchdown pass to Norman Price gave Mays a 13-7 lead in the second quarter.
Stockbridge seemed poised to enter the halftime break on the wrong side of the scoreboard, but Mike Price returned an interception for a touchdown just before the half to give his team a 14-13 lead.
Mays came up with the first big play of the third quarter, blocking a punt to set up another touchdown throw by Phillips. Stockbridge answered after Mays muffed a punt with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Duncan. The 21-21 tie would not last, as Phillips hooked up with Amir Abdur-Rahman for a 19-yard score just two minutes later.
But Stockbridge would not quit, tying the game up for the fourth time early in the fourth quarter. Holston broke a monster 89-yard rush to make the score 28-28, only for Mays to reclaim a 34-28 lead on a 4-yard rush by Armis Stokes. However, a botched extra point left the door open for the Tigers with just over six minutes left in the game.
Stockbridge made the most of its chance, marching down the field and taking a 35-34 lead on a 13-yard rush by Duncan with 2:22 left in the game.
Mays had a late chance to take the lead, but Ryan Massey intercepted a pass to preserve Stockbridge’s 35-34 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
Stockbridge (1-0) will return to action next Saturday against Lovejoy (1-1) at 7 p.m. at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Price interception gives Stockbridge halftime lead
Stockbridge’s young secondary was tested by the Mays passing attack during the first half of play, as Phillips threw the ball successfully to several different receivers. The Tigers finally got the better of Phillips late in the second half though, with Price returning an interception for a touchdown to give his team a 14-13 lead.
Special teams blunders haunt both teams
Special teams plays often determine games, and this was no exception. A blocked punt by Mays during the third quarter gave Mays positive field position inside the Stockbridge 30-yard line. Mays punched the ball in to gain a 21-14 lead. Stockbridge was on the receiving end of a Mays blunder later in the quarter, turning a muffed punt into a touchdown of its own.
Holston goes monster mode
Looking at Holston’s production in the first half, there was a noticeable difference in the second half of play. The senior running back reeled off long runs, including an 89-yard touchdown to tie the game at 28-28 early in the fourth quarter. Holston rushed for 148 yards in the second half alone.
Stockbridge defense holds when it matters
In a game featuring two offenses with big-play potential, a late-game defensive stand ultimately decided the contest. After taking the lead behind Duncan’s running ability, Stockbridge was forced to defend a 1-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. Massey provided the big play, stepping in front of a Phillips’ throw to seal the win for his team.
Stockbridge 7 7 7 14 35
Mays 7 6 15 6 34
Stock: J. Holston 8-yard rush (7-0, 2:30)
Mays: B. Phillips 7-yard pass to M. Bryant (7-7, 0:23)
Mays: B. Phillips 17-yard pass to N. Price (13-7, 2:30)
Stock: M. Price interception return (14-13, 0:13)
Mays: B. Phillips 5-yard pass to A. Barnes (21-14, 7:58)
Stock: K. Duncan 5-yard rush (21-21, 3:52)
Mays: B. Phillips 19-yard pass to A. Abdur-Rahman (28-21, 1:55)
Stock: J. Holston 89-yard rush (28-28, 9:05)
Mays: A. Stokes 4-yard rush (34-28, 6:39)
Stock: K. Duncan 13-yard rush (35-34, 2:22)