It was a big night of high school football in Forsyth County, with homecoming at North Forsyth and a subregion elimination game for West Forsyth.
* Flowery Branch 54, West Forsyth 51
Leading 51-47 with less than a minute to play, West Forsyth's defense was one stop away from sealing the deal against Flowery Branch.
But on fourth and 20 from the Falcon 42-yard line, quarterback Connor Shaw scrambled and fired downfield to Robby Boudreau, who hauled in the catch just inside the 20 and took off untouched for the end zone.
The Falcons' winning touchdown was the 10th lead change in the key Region 7-AAA Subregion B matchup. Seven of those came in the second half.
With the 54-51 win, 2008 state Class AAA runner-up Flowery Branch is assured of a return engagement in the playoffs. The Wolverines (4-4, 2-2) are locked out.
"I'm very proud of [our guys]," said West head coach Frank Hepler. "We outplayed them, we outcoached them, we did every phase of the game. ... We can't help another factor.
"I thought [Shaw] was across the line [of scrimmage] there at the end and [the referees] didn't call it, so that's what we've got to go with." (click here to see video highlights of the game. The pass is the last play on the video)
Both defenses were burned early and often in the game, as the teams combined for 1,100 yards of offense.
Shaw had a hand in every Falcon touchdown, passing for four and running for three.
For the Wolverines, Ben Emert was the workhorse, running for 346 yards and six touchdowns on 25 carries.
Next up for West is a visit Friday from Chestatee.
* North Gwinnett 24, North Forsyth 6
On a rainy homecoming night in Raider Valley, North Forsyth (5-3, 3-3) took on an undefeated North Gwinnett team averaging 33 points per game on offense.
The Bulldogs would find the end zone just twice on the night, but it was their defense that forced a few key stops and returned a fumble for a touchdown en route to a 24-6 win.
"When you play the No. 3-ranked team in the state, you've got to play as close to perfection as you can," said North head coach Jared Zito said. "And we didn't do that at times tonight.
"The positive is that on Monday we get to come out and focus on controlling our own destiny in Region 7-AAAAA."
The Raiders could earn their first state playoff berth in Class AAAAA if they can defeat Chattahoochee on the road Friday and Northview the following week.
* Peachtree Ridge 17, South Forsyth 10
In a defensive struggle, Peachtree Ridge rallied late to defeat South Forsyth 17-10 at War Eagle Field.
South's Michael Emerson intercepted an option pitch from the Lions' quarterback and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead with 9:32 left in the game.
But Peachtree Ridge pulled even with a 42-yard field goal, before scoring the winning touchdown on a 27-yard pass with 27 seconds remaining.
"We can't win one," said South head coach Wendell Early. "We need to win one. We're hurting for a win right now. We just got to get a W."
The War Eagles (1-7, 1-6) next chance to do so comes Friday, when Collins Hill visits.
* Chamblee 29, Forsyth Central 0
CHAMBLEE— The battle of the Region 6-AAAA Bulldogs was all Chamblee, which celebrated its homecoming with a 29-0 win over Forsyth Central at North DeKalb Stadium.
Chamblee racked up 321 yards of offense while Central (1-7, 1-6) struggled to move the ball on a rainy night, finishing with just three first downs and 50 yards of offense.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half,” said Central head coach Chris Bennett.
“We didn’t get any points on the board, but our kids came out and played with better emotion and I am proud of that.”
Central will look to bounce back Friday when it travels to North Springs.
* Pinecrest 17, George Walton 3
MONROE -- Pinecrest Academy overcame a halftime deficit to pick up an important 17-3 win at fifth-ranked George Walton Academy.
With the victory, the Paladins (8-1, 2-0) have the inside track to a GISA Region 1-AAA championship.
"It was the best win of Pinecrest football history," said Paladins head coach Charles Wiggins.
Friday, the Paladins play host to perennial rival Holy Spirit Prep, and can clinch the region crown outright with a victory.
* JV: Lambert 14, Johns Creek 0
For complete game coverage, see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.