Unfortunately, the Raiders’ Tae Ray fielded the ensuing kickoff.
Ray, who also ran for a game-high 129 yards, caught the ball at his 2-yard line and raced 98 yards for a touchdown. The score re-established East Paulding’s lead to 21-12 on its way to a 31-19 victory.
“If you make mistakes like dropping passes, having turnovers and giving up special teams’ scores, you’re not going to win the game.” Allatoona head coach Gary Varner said.
East Paulding will be the No. 3 seed and travel to Sequoyah to open the Class AAAAA playoffs Friday.
Allatoona’s second straight home loss means it will be the No. 4 seed from Region 5AAAAA and will travel to Kell.
“We’ve never faced Kell and it’s an excellent team,” Varner said. “We’ve achieved one goal of making the playoffs but know we’ll have to execute better next week. We’ll get back to practice, watch film and show up ready to play.”
After a field goal that put East Paulding up 24-12, Allatoona started a drive to try to make it a one-possession game, but the Raiders’ Tyler Gordon intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
The Bucs took an early 3-0 lead after Russell Halimon’s long kickoff return set up a 31-yard field goal by Arty Wollschloger.
The Raiders responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down by Mitchell Webb, giving them a 7-3 lead.
Allatoona cut East Paulding’s lead to 7-6 early in the second quarter on Wollschloger’s second field goal of the game, this one from 29 yards.
A two-yard run by Mac Coleman midway through the second quarter increased the Raiders lead to 14-6.