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PREP FOOTBALL: Lovejoy defense stifles Griffin in fifth win of the season

Lovejoy running back Jakiel Middlebrook looks for running room against Griffin Friday night. | PHOTO: John Sullivan, Griffin Daily News

Special to the Buzz 

By John Sullivan, Griffin Daily News 

GRIFFIN, Ga. — There would be no North Gwinnett letdown for the Class 6A No. 5 Lovejoy Wildcats. 

One week after pulling off the monumental upset of the North Gwinnett Bulldogs, Lovejoy (5-0) gave a fitting encore performance en route to a 27-6 win over Griffin Friday night. 

Four different players scored for the Wildcats as it remained undefeated on the season.

Lovejoy’s defense was stalwart throughout, as Griffin’s Khalfani Harps provided the Bears only score when he fired a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jaleel Chambliss on a slant pattern over the middle in the third quarter.

Lovejoy, meanwhile, broke a defensive stalemate when Joacari Terrell broke off a 6-yard run with 4:17 left to play in the half. The run capped a 9-play, 74-yard drive that was aided by a 35-yard pass from quarterback Stephin King to Cameron Henry on the drive’s seventh play, followed by a 13-yard run by tailback Trevon Kinchen on the next play.

Lovejoy tailback Trevon Kinchen sprints to the end zone on a 13-yard touchdown run Friday night at Griffin. | PHOTO: John Sullivan, Griffin Daily News

The Wildcats then took advantage of a Griffin punt that went for a net -7 yards with :51 left to play in the first half to set up their next score on a 28-yard pass from Craig to Antonio Jones on the drive’s first and only play—a skinny post over the to—as the Wildcats went ahead 14-0 with :43 left in the half.

Lovejoy looked like it would score again before halftime when Quentavius Scandrett picked off a Griffin pass deep in Lovejoy territory and returned it to the Bears’ 38. However, the drive stalled at the Griffin 12 as time expired in the first half.

Griffin cut Lovejoy’s lead to 14-6, on Harps’ pass to Chambliss with 2:05 left to play in the third after the extra point attempt hit the left upright and bounced back. 

The Wildcats, however, quickly retook the momentum on 6-play, 49-yard march that took off on a 58-yard pass from Craig to Kinchen on the drive’s second play. Craig capped it by tucking the ball and running into the end zone from 4 yards out as Lovejoy overcame a holding penalty and a pair of false start infractions during the drive to go ahead 21-6 with 11:01 left to play.

Lovejoy put the game away on a methodical 10-play, 63-yard drive that ended with Kinchen scampering into end zone from 4 yards out with 2:54 remaining to account for the game’s final margin.

The Wildcats are off to their best start since 2012, and will enjoy a well-earned bye week before starting region play against Morrow at Tara Stadium on Thursday October 15 in a game slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff. 

Griffin opens Region 2-AAAAA play next week at McIntosh High in Peachtree City.

Crescent Buzz staff contributed to this report.

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Gabriel Stovall

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