Sunday October 4th, 2015 5:19AM

Prayers answered: Hail Mary saves Falcons against Johns Creek

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Related Articles
ALPHARETTA -- After a wild first half, it figured to go down to the final play between Flowery Branch and Johns Creek in their Class AAAA first round playoff game Friday night.

It did -- and were the Falcons ever happy it did.

Flowery Branch snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a final-play, 36-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Kanler Coker to Casey Osborne to beat the Gladiators 41-38 in a game for the ages. Osborne caught the ball while lying on his back in a sea of players from both sides.

"It was a gift from God, without a doubt," Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw said. "I think it pinged off three of four or players before it fell to Casey. There was some bigtime mojo there."

The seventh-ranked Falcons (10-1) survived a 17-point fourth quarter by Johns Creek that gave the Gladiators a 38-35 lead with 42 seconds left, their only lead of the game. The Falcons answered with Coker connecting on four consecutive passes to Jeremy Haley, Osborne, C.J. Curry, and then Osborne again as time ran out to pull out the improbable win.

Flowery Branch looked to have the game in control entering the fourth quarter after Noel Padmore scored on a interception return for a touchdown for a 35-21 lead. But the Gladiators scored on consecutive possessions to tie the game and then got a 30-yard field goal from Kyle Fowler for a 38-35 lead.

The game was back-and-forth in the first half with Flowery Branch taking a 21-14 lead into halftime on the strength of an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown by Quinton Mayfield. Johns Creek (9-2) wasted little time in tying the game scoring on an 88-yard run on the first play of the third quarter.

The Falcons then ran out to a 28-21 lead when Coker connected with Haley on a touchdown pass before Padmore pushed the lead to 35-21.

The Falcons finished with 366 yards of offense, 222 passing and two turnovers. Johns Creek finished with 443 yards of offense, 335 rushing, but three turnovers led to 21 Flowery Branch points.

"What a memory; it was just unbelievable," Shaw said. "These kids are writing a pretty cool story of their own right now."

Flowery Branch, the third seed from Region 8-AAAA, next will get the unexpected opportunity to host its second round playoff game after Thomas County Central -- the fourth seed from Region 1-AAAA -- shocked Statesboro, the top seed from Region 2-AAAA, 31-28 Friday night on the road.

"It doesn't get any better than that," Shaw said.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Utah comes back, beats GaTech 30-27 in OT Sun Bowl
John White plowed into the end zone from 8 yards out to give Utah a 30-27 overtime victory against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl on Saturday.

6:30PM ( 3 years ago )
Girls basketball: East Hall wins McDonald's Shootout title
The East Hall girls basketball team followed up its Lanierland title by winning the McDonald's Shootout Friday. The Lady Vikings beat Elbert County 50-35 in the championship game at the Hart County gym.
6:43AM ( 3 years ago )
Boys basketball: Dawson takes third in Battle of the States
Gunnar Armstrong scored 11 points to lead Dawson County to a 43-31 win over Polk (Tenn.) Thursday night in the third place in the Battle of the States tournament.
10:24PM ( 3 years ago )
Girls basketball: Lady Wolves fall to top 10 Hoover, (Ala.)
The Buford girls basketball team finished a stretch of seven games in 10 days against several nationally ranked teams Thursday night with a 48-35 loss to top 10 Hoover, (Alaa.) in the Peach State Jump Off Classic at Holy Innocents.
10:07PM ( 3 years ago )
Boys basketball: Buford routs Harrison in Converse tourney
Isaiah Williams poured in 17 points to lead the Buford boys to a 73-46 rout of Harrison Thursday in the Converse Invitational at Columbia High School.
9:33PM ( 3 years ago )
High School Sports
More heavy rain and flooding forecast along parts off waterlogged East Coast
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — While spared the full fury of Hurricane Joaquin, parts of the East Coast saw record-setting rain Saturday that shut down roads, waterlogged crops and showed little sign of lett...
12:02AM ( 5 hours ago )
Tide rolls over Dogs in a rout
Jake Coker ran the offense to perfection, the defense turned in a dominating performance, and No. 13 Alabama even got a touchdown from its special teams Saturday in a 38-10 rout of No. 8 Georgia that re-established the Crimson Tide as a force in the national race.
By The Associated Press
11:59PM ( 5 hours ago )
Two injured in head on collision Saturday
A two car accident snarled traffic on Dawsonville Highway Saturday afternoon.
10:26PM ( 6 hours ago )
Flood Warnings issued in North Georgia
The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings in the north Georgia area.
10:02PM ( 7 hours ago )
6 US airmen who died in Afghanistan plane crash identified; Georgian among them
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AP) — The Department of Defense has identified the six American airmen killed when a U.S. Air Force military transport plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan.
6:04PM ( 11 hours ago )