MT. AIRY - Bo Hatchett and Tavarres King connected on two touchdown passes to lead Habersham Central to a 24-7 win over Marist Friday night in the opening round of the Class AAAA football playoffs.
The Raiders (10-1) will play host to Cherokee next week in the second round. Cherokee advanced after beating Region 7-AAAA champion Dalton 21-19.
After a scoreless first quarter and a defensive stalemate for most of the first half, Habersham finally got on the board with just over four minutes left in the first half when Hatchett, who was 18-of-33 passing for 255 yards, found King from 30 yards out to put Habersham up 7-0.
The Raiders added a 32-yard field goal to go up 10-0 in the third quarter. The War Eagles, who were the state runners-up last year, countered with a scoring drive that was capped by a 3-yard run by Derek Heyden, who ended with only 23 yards on eight carries.
Marist quarterback Cooper Taylor tallied a game-high 100 yards rushing on 18 carries. However, he completed just 5-of-11 passes for 38 yards.
Marist's hope for a comeback ended when King caught a four-yard pass to put Habersham up 17-7. King ended the game with 158 yards receiving on 12 catches, scoring twice.
The Raiders added another score with less than two minutes left in the game on a Robert Renshaw 5-yard-run to seal the win. Renshaw finished with 64 yards on 12 carries, while Zach Chitwood racked up 40 yards. Dee Ellison also picked up some yards, gathering 68 on three receptions.