Nolan Edmonds scored four touchdowns and racked up 172 yards on just seven carries to lead the Alpharetta Raiders to a 41-14 road win over the Chattahoochee Cougars, which clinched the Region 7-AAAAAA title for the Raiders on Friday.
Edmonds scored on touchdown runs of 20, 73 and 45 yards and caught a 32-yard touchdown for the Raiders (9-1, 8-0 7-AAAAAA), who won their first region title since 2014 and earned a playoff spot for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
“My line did great,” said Edmonds, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior committed to Minnesota. “I want to give them props. They made the holes, they made the seams for me to explore and get through and then our receivers made the blocks at the second level.”
With the win, Alpharetta avoided a three-way tie for first place with Chattahoochee and Centennial. In that scenario, Centennial would have won 7-AAAAAA based on tiebreakers.
The Cougars (7-3, 6-2) are now the No. 3 seed behind Centennial.
The Raiders opened the scoring with Edmonds’ 20-yard touchdown run on their first possession. They were set up with good field position after the Cougars’ first drive ended with an 11-yard punt that landed on the Alpharetta 46.
Chattahoochee would tie the game with 2:07 left in the first quarter on Damon Stewart’s 6-yard pass to Jordan Coleman. The score came on the drive’s second play, which began on the Raiders’ 3-yard line thanks to a Joseph Sayles interception and 30-yard return.
But that would be the Cougars’ last score until the game was out of reach.
The Raiders ripped off 20 points in the second quarter to take a 27-7 lead into halftime, including two touchdowns in the final two minutes. Edmonds scored on a 32-yard pass from Matthew Downing on third-and-7 with 8:37 left in the half. After forcing a Cougars three-and-out, they drove the ball 75 yards in five minutes, with the drive ending on Downing’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Michael Marbaugh on third-and-13 with 1:48 remaining. The Raiders defense then forced another three-and-out, and the first play of their next drive was a 65-yard pass from Downing to Marcus Hill with 31.1 seconds left in the half.
“We came out a little slow at first,” said Edmonds, “but then we started picking it up.”
The Raiders picked up where they left off on the second half’s opening possession when, on the second play of the drive, Edmonds rushed up the middle untouched for a 73-yard score that put the game out of reach at 34-7. For good measure, Edmonds tacked on another long touchdown run — this one for 45 yards — to give Alpharetta a 41-7 lead with 5:34 remaining in the third.
The fourth quarter featured a running clock, but Cougars managed one last touchdown on Stewart’s 5-yard run, which brought the score to its final margin with 7:50 left in the game.
Downing finished 5 of 14 passing for 178 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Marbaugh led all receivers with two catches for 77 yards.
The Cougars were led by junior Max Webb, who had 93 yards on 21 carries.
Despite the loss, it was a night worth celebrating for Chattahoochee, as it qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012, the last season of a three-year playoff run that saw the Cougars go 15-0 in 2010 for the AAAA title — their only championship in the program’s 26-year history.
Alpharetta 7 20 14 0 – 41
Chattahoochee 7 0 0 7 – 14
A – Nolan Edmonds 20 run (Dylan Schorr kick)
C – Jordan Coleman 6 pass from Damon Stewart (Cecily Mohammed kick)
A – Edmonds 32 pass from Matthew Downing (Schorr kick)
A – Michael Marbaugh 60 pass from Downing (kick failed)
A – Marcus Hill 65 pass from Downing (Schorr kick)
A – Edmonds 73 run (Schorr kick)
A- Edmonds 45 run (Schorr kick)
C – Stewart 5 run (Mohammed kick)