MADISON — Austin Parker, Georgia's passing leader, threw for nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns to help East Hall rally past Morgan County 50-36 Friday night in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.
It was the first playoff win for the Vikings (7-4) since beating North Clayton in 1993 in Class AA.
Longtime East Hall coach Bryan Gray, now in his 11th season, needed just one word to describe it: "Amazing."
"None of these guys were even alive the last time we won a playoff game. Just an unmatched feeling of what it's like to get this win for the school. I just feel so good for the kids."
It looked early on like it would be another quick exit for the Vikings, who had lost eight straight postseason games going back to that win over North Clayton. They fell behind the high-scoring Bulldogs (9-2) 20-7 by halftime as defensive mistakes and big plays by the Morgan County offense took its toll.
But East Hall stormed out of the intermission to score 24 consecutive points to grab a 31-20 lead and never look back.
Sedrion Morse had four touchdown catches and Tripp Rider and Austin Brock had one each for the Vikings. But Gray said it was the work of his defensive line that was the difference. The Vikings came into the game having allowed the most points of any team in the Class AAA field (371).
Amir Ellison recorded a pair sacks and had more than half-a-dozen pass break ups while freshman safety Xzavior Ramsey was moved up to provide blitzing support.
"The defense really played well in the second half," Gray said. "Those two guys in particular just caused a lot of havoc."
Brock added a big interception in the second quarter and Kylan Curry helped seal the win in the fourth quarter with a huge interception in the end zone.
East Hall will hit the road again next week heading to Region 5-AAA No. 3 seed Westminster (6-5) which knocked North Murray 37-7 on the road. The Wildcats made the quarterfinals in 2016.
"We scrimmaged them and they're a solid team; Final Four potential," Gray said. "We'll start looking at them next week."