Allatoona continued its winning ways for the second consecutive year with a 24-21 first round playoff victory over the Heritage Patriots.
It didn't look promising for the Buccaneers at the start of Friday night's game. Heritage scored first on a 45-yard pass play with 5:16 left in the first quarter, then its defense picked off Allatoona quarterback Jeremy Uzee and took it back 50 yards for a touchdown. With 4:15 left in the first quarter, Heritage held a 14-0 lead.
Allatoona righted the ship and moved the ball down the field. The Bucs scored early in the second quarter to make the score 14-7. The Allatoona defense came up big on the next two Heritage possessions and gave the Bucs offense great field position to start each series. Allatoona kicked a field goal and scored a touchdown on those possessions to make the score 17-14 at the end of the first half.
Heritage wasn't done. The Patriots held the Allatoona offense at the start of the third quarter and got the ball back. Heritage effectively moved the ball down the field and scored a touchdown on a quarterback keeper with 4:59 left in the third quarter to go up 21-17.
Allatoona answered with a touchdown of its own. Three pass plays from quarterback Jeremy Uzee kept the chains moving. One pass to Cody Sorrells and two to Tommy Davis got the Bucs in scoring position. And just before the end of the third quarter, Uzee scored on a quarterback sneak to make the score 24-21.
Although that was the final score, there was plenty of excitement in the fourth quarter. Late in the game, Allatoona was pinned deep in its own end. A series of penalties kept the Bucs there. Allatoona was forced to punt the ball to the Patriots. Kicking from the Allatoona endzone, Nathan Shaw made a beautiful punt to move the Patriots back across midfield.
With 4:18 to play, Heritage went to work. The Bucs held the Patriots until fourth down. Heritage completed a pass for a first down at the Allatoona 30-yard line. Heritage inched the ball to the 23-yard line and attempted a game-tying 40-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the game.
The attempt was no good.
Next week, Allatoona will face M.L. King in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.