No. 54 North Gwinnett captures Georgia 7A high school football championship in heart-stopping fashion

north gwinnett

North Gwinnett capped an incredible season Friday night with a 19-17 defeat of Colquitt County in a battle of nationally-ranked teams for Georgia’s Class AAAAAAA state championship.

This one wasn’t decided until the end when Cameron Clark booted a 38-yard field with no time left on the clock, which closed-out a crazy final minute, which saw Colquitt County take a 17-16 lead with 49 seconds to go in the game.

That’s when things got crazy and the Moultrie Observer gives a great description of what happened over the final 49 ticks of the clock:

But in those 49 seconds, so much happened in what seemed to take 49 minutes of real time. Bulldog quarterback Jimmy Urzua threw two completions up to Colquitt’s 45, and that took the clock down to 26 seconds. At the 18-second mark senior Packer linebacker JJ Peterson sacked Urzua authoritatively back on the North Gwinnett side of the 50. Even though there was a fumble on the play, the football went out of bounds and thus stopping the clock.

On third down and forever, officials first called defensive holding on Colquitt. When it’s fourth down, and just three seconds need to go away for a Moultrie championship celebration, the unimaginable happens. With a prevent set, there are more than 11 players on the field for two lineups. So that’s 10 yards for the Bulldogs up to the CC 36. Urzua threw a deep Hail Mary towards the end zone, and officials found pass interference on the defense. That play naturally took up all the allotted time, but a game cannot end on a defensive penalty.

From the 21, Clark became a local hero.

Clark’s field goal redeemed a missed extra point with 5:50 to go in the game that would have given the Bulldogs a 17-10 lead.

The state title is the first-ever for North Gwinnett, which won fourteen straight after losing 31-28 to Walton in its season-opener.  Making the title run even more amazing is the fact that Bulldogs lost its quarterback Cade Fortin, a Texas A&M-recruit to a broken ankle in the second game of the season.

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.

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