Photo by Jason Mussell / A Stockbridge receiver goes flying to make a block Friday at Eagle’s Landing.
McDONOUGH — Malik Bryan rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns Friday as ninth-ranked Stockbridge dominated the second half in a 31-7 victory that spoiled Eagle’s Landing’s Homecoming night.
The Tigers (5-1) won the Region 4-AAAA, Division A opener for both teams, though they got off to a slow start.
Bryan scored on runs of 23 and 32 yards in the second half as Stockbridge pulled away. The Tigers were able to slow down Eagle’s Landing workhorse running back Corey Holloway, holding him to 78 yards on 21 carries — the bulk of that coming on a 43-yard run early in the third quarter.
If style points were to be given for time of possession and control of the game, Eagle’s Landing (0-6) clearly won the first half, though the Golden Eagles trailed 10-7 at halftime. They had the ball for 18 of the first 24 minutes, while Stockbridge didn’t even have a second possession until less than six minutes remained before halftime.
But because of a fine 33-yard punt return by Javon Brandon and a couple nifty runs by Stockbridge quarterback Trent Earl (a 23-yard touchdown run on an excellent counter with student body left and he took off to the right), the Tigers led 7-0 at 5:12 of the first.
Thereafter began an amazing 23-play, 88-yard Eagle’s Landing drive that included four third-down conversions and two fourth-down conversions. The drive consumed 11:49 of the first half. QB Bradley Dewberry dove over from the 1 and the score was tied at 7 with 5:23 left in the first half. Stockbridge then went three-and-out, and it looked as if an upset might be in the making.
The Tigers defense, however, on its heels for that long drive, rose up and stopped the Golden Eagles to give the offense a last shot before the horn sounded. Maetron Thomas ran for 16 yards, and Eagle’s Landing committed a personal foul penalty for 15 more. With 0:03.8 on the clock, Andrus Guillen lined up for a 41-yard field goal. His left foot was sure and accurate, sending the teams to the locker rooms with Stockbridge leading 10-7.
The Tigers marched 72 yards in the first seven plays of the second half, with Bryan being the feature back. Bryan carried three times for 45 yards, the last 8 for the score. Eagle’s Landing was surprised by the split formation’s two-point PAT try, and it was 18-7 with the Tigers on the way to an easy victory.
Guillen added two more field goals (41 yards and 23 yards), and Bryan raced 32 yards to the house on the first play after a fake punt failed to net a first down in Golden Eagles territory. Eagles Landing drove to the Tigers 11 as the game wound down, but another touchdown was not to be.
Earl passed for 65 yards and ran for 50 more. Nigel Hughes caught four second half passes for 59 yards. Titus Davis led the Tigers in tackles with seven, followed by Cameron Gordon and Demontae Geiger with six each.
Holloway also caught five shovel or screen passes for 33 yards. Tight end Bill Teknipp caught five passes for 60 yards, every one earning the Golden Eagles a first down. Dewberry passed 32 times, completing 17 for 143 yards. The leading tackler for the Eagles defense was co-captain Shawayne Lawrence with six.