Warner Robins rallies to beat Eagle’s Landing in OT

Eagle’s Landing won its first-ever playoff game last week.

It came a little to close for comfort of winning its second against Warner Robins in the second round of the GHSA Class AAAAA state tournament Friday.

The Demons pulled it out, 26-23, but it took overtime to do it.

Head Coach Mike Chastain said going in that the Eagles’ strength was their “secondary”. Three interceptions helped proved that point.

The first of those helped them take a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.

The game started with both moving the ball but having to punt – strong kickers on both sides helped keep the opponent’s starting position around the 20 for most of the way.

Warner Robins scored on its second possession via an Eli Mashburn field goal of 19 yards. That capped off a drive that began at the aforementioned 20.

Eagle’s Landing punted following, but then came one of those aforementioned interceptions. Gift in hand – the ball ending up on the 2 – it scored on a Cameron Lewis run of one yard.

It wasn’t just the interceptions that hurt, a fumble on the Demons’ next possession – after they had driven all the way down to the Eagles’ 14 no less – bit to the tune of a 36-yard field goal by Logan Friddell. That came with just 46 seconds left before the horn and might have been a nice boost – up 10-3 – heading into the locker room if not for Jaeven West’s 95-yard kickoff return for a score following. Mashburn’s point after made it 10-all instead.

Eagle’s Landing returned the fumble favor on its first possession to start the third quarter.

That was followed by the Demons’ second interception. That stalled another drive and gave the visitor the ball on their own 17.

Warner Robins forced them to punt, got good field position out of it, but then turned it over on downs when a fourth-and-three came up short.

The Eagles then scored again, going 65 yards on four plays. The last of those – the touchdown – came when Lewis found Emanuel Stores for a 22-yard pass. The point after made it 17-10, Eagle’s Landing.

The third pick nearly resulted in another score. What stopped it was the defense blocking a Friddell attempt from 44 yards.

Warner Robins turned it over on downs following, then held the Eagles to a three-and-out and punt – although if not for an illegal man downfield they would have had it on the 10.

With just over nine minutes left to play, the Demons then put together two scoring drives. The first covered 67 yards on seven plays – a 42-yard pass from Dylan Fromm to Julius Cobbs being one of those. It was finished off by Jarius Burnette from the 1. Mashburn’s point after tied it.

After an Eagle’s Landing punt, the Demons went 78 yards before stalling. Mashburn came on and kicked an 11 yarder to give them a 20-17 lead with just over three minutes left in the game.

To the Tigers’ credit, they answered by going from their own 20 to Warner Robins’ 22, spiking the ball with :5.7 left and bringing Friddell on for the game-tying kick as regulation ran out.

Eagle’s Landing received the ball on the 15 to start first in overtime. A pass got them to the 6, but a run put it back two yards and brought up a third-and-two. A game delay then made it third-and-seven. A pass attempt came up empty on the next play. Friddell came in, however, and made it 23-20.

Warner Robins then took its turn. West ran it to the 9 on the first play from scrimmage. Then he carried it to 7. An offsides gave the Demons five more yards and a first down. West ran it to the 3. Burnette got it to the 2, but could only picked up an additional yard on third down.

Warner Robins made the gutsy call on fourth-and-one, but it paid off as Burnette bulled his way in for the score.