On the road at Trion, Rossville came up with two big stops inside the red zone while a hard-charging ground game chewed up yardage and the clock for a 22-6 win in a North Georgia Athletic Conference semifinal game on Thursday.
With the win, Rossville (7-1) will play for the NGAC title at Heritage (7-1) next Thursday. The Generals won the regular season meeting with the Bulldogs, 22-20.
Rossville’s defense came up big early as Chris Henderson forced a Trion fumble at the Rossville 10-yard line with Ryan Heath recovering. The offense then responded with a 90-play drive, keyed by a 54-yard burst from Grayson Moore. Henderson fittingly capped the scoring march with a 1-yard touchdown run. Jalyn Shelton ran in the conversion.
Trion (6-2) answered with a 50-yard scoring drive, but Rossville maintained the lead after stopping the conversion, then added to the lead on their ensuing possession.
The 67-yard march took just two plays as Moore went for nine yards before key blocks from Luke Edwards and Jacob Keeton sprung Henderson for a 58-yard scoring scamper. Shelton once again added the conversion.
Hunter McKenzie overpowered the Trion offense on the next series, coming up with three tackles, including a pair of sacks. Cody Holland and Nick Trew then stopped a fake punt attempt, and two plays later, Moore rambled 34 yards for what would be the final points of the day.
Trion’s second drive of the second half saw them march all the way to Rossville’s 4-yard line, but the defense would hold on three straight plays to get the ball back for the offense with 4:21 to play.
Rossville would then eat up the rest of the clock, gaining four big first downs on the legs on Henderson, Moore, and Shelton to put the game on ice.
Moore finished with 145 yards on just seven carries, while Henderson had eight rushes for 101 yards. Shelton picked up 64 yards on a dozen attempts.
On defense, Heath had nine tackles to go with his fumble recovery, while Edwards and Chris Stubbs added seven stops each. McKenzie had six tackles to go with his two sacks, while Henderson and Moore were each credited with five tackles.
“Our defense was once again outstanding,” said Rossville head coach Steve Lewis. “We gave up too many yards, but when we had our backs against the wall, we responded and stopped them. We were a little shaky early, but we made some adjustments to our defensive line and they took over. I’m proud of the way these young men handled a long bus ride and a very talented and well coached Trion football team.”