North Atlanta Punches Playoff Ticket in Win Over Chattahoochee

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By game’s end, a lot happened at Grady Stadium this past Friday night. Burly football players openly wept. Coach Sean O’Sullivan got doused with a Gatorade shower from an upturned cooler. The North Atlanta student section was beside itself with delirium. And senior linebacker Sterling Fleury was leading the Marching Warriors as the most enthusiastic – and sweaty — drum major ever. Senior lineman Kolton Lambert had syrup doused on his bare belly. History was made on Nov. 9 when the Dubs vanquished the Chattahoochee Cougars by a score of 42 to 35 to clinch the team’s spot in the state playoffs. “It felt amazing getting that win because at first you can’t believe it. Then you see the clock hit zero and your team really is on the winning side,” said Fleury. The playoff appearance will be the first for North Atlanta since 1996, well before any of the current team players were born. 

North Atlanta started the game off scalding hot, jumping out to a 25-7 lead off the strength of three early touchdown runs from their star running back, TK Mack. However, Mack would leave the game in the second quarter with an injury, and the Warriors were forced to look elsewhere for offense. They turned to running back Chris Wright and quarterback Wiley Hartley to put up points. A touchdown from Wright and a field goal from Jacob Pierce would push the lead to 29 to 7 with Mack sidelined for the rest of the game. Chattahoochee’s offense would falter with the loss of quarterback Jaylen Smith, but he would return to the game and throw touchdowns from 55 and 27 yards out to cut the Warrior lead down to 35 to 21. A Wiley Hartley touchdown run in the fourth quarter made the score 42 to 21, Warriors and seemed to end the game for good. However, Chattahoochee would drive down the field, score a touchdown, and get a two point conversion to make the score 42 to 28. Big deal, it’s still a 14 point lead, right? Well, they recovered the onside kick and threw a 38 yard bomb to make it 42 to 35. Warrior nation got a little concerned. Then, after a re-kick led to another recovery, the Warriors were staring right in the face of a monumental collapse. “When they were coming back I was definitely getting scared because I realized that if we were to lose it could be my last game ever, and if we lost like that it would’ve been an awful way to end it,” said Wiley Hartley. But by the grace of the football gods, Wesley Horton came off the edge on 4th down to knock the ball out of Smith’s hands and secure the playoff spot. “When we were able to hang on I felt that huge weight go off my shoulders and I just went into a mode of excitement,” Hartley said. The Warrzone was sent into a frenzy. The celebration was on. The Warriors take on South Paulding Friday night to keep the Cinderella story going, and they’ll need the loudest Warrzone they can get.

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